Just as we were writing, on Tuesday afternoon, our Wednesday Editorial, making an 11th hour appeal to United States President Donald J. Trump kindly to extend the Deferred Enforced Deportation (DED) for some 4000 Liberians in the USA, the American leader had most generously already thought about it and had actually taken action in an Executive Order to that precise effect.
Last night, our conscientious, hardworking and ever-vigilant former Daily Observer Reporter, John Lloyd, was faithfully at it again. After dutifully responding to our request to do a comprehensive article, published in Tuesday’s edition, on the desperate DED situation facing some 4000 Liberians so that our President George Weah and his foreign Minister Gbezohngar Findley would take the urgent, appropriate action to forestall the impending deportation, John Lloyd did not just go home and sleep after a long day’s work. He kept constant watch.
He and several other conscientious and caring Liberians, led by Lois Brutus, our recently appointed Liberian Ambassador to Washington, had been calling on top American officials, including many Congressmen, who had always willingly come to the Liberians’ rescue, urging them to help bring pressure to bear on the White House to act.
In addition, some 600 faith leaders from around the USA sent a letter to President Trump last week urging him to extend the DED. They quoted Leviticus 19:33-34 which reminds: “Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.”
Alas, we published John Lloyd’s story as our front page lead in our online edition at midnight Tuesday (8 p.m. Monday, Washington, D.C. time) and in our print edition at 7 o’clock a.m. that same morning. By that time, President Trump had already answered the call of Liberians and their friends in Washington and around the country. That same Monday he issued his Executive Order generously extending the DED for another year!
Several of the past US Presidents have graciously extended the DED and Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for one year at a time. So President Trump’s one-year extension is in line with the tradition.
We humbly suggest that President Weah and Foreign Minister Findley should now start working well in advance towards advocating for permanent status for those among the 4000 Liberians in the USA, who may wish to stay, or those who, for one reason or another, are not yet ready to return.
President Trump realizes that there is indeed a special, longstanding relationship between the USA and Liberia—one that is older than any other relationship on the entire African continent—1822 to the present. We need to let President Trump know also that Liberia has joined the USA in two World Wars and given her diplomatic and political support through the years in the United Nations and other world bodies. The two countries have also enjoyed substantial cooperation in economic, political and social matters.
The question quickly arises, why after all those years of close relations with the world’s richest, most advanced and most powerful nation, Liberia is still in a backward state and among the world’s poorest nations? Herein lies the opportunity for President George Weah, the new, popularly elected Liberian leader, to come forward and make a difference. He and his team should immediately start asking WHY? Then begin to construct a new paradigm (model) of our relationship with the USA and the rest of the developed world, so that Liberia can immediately turn around and, within a few years, move full speed towards economic, industrial and social development.
In respect of achieving permanent status for those Liberians who wish to stay in America, we have enough citizens, friends and advisers, including people like Dr. Elwood Dunn, John Lloyd and several of their fellow Liberian colleagues in the USA, plus many, many American friends of Liberia who can work with Foreign Minister Findley and others in putting the case for permanent status for such Liberians (those who wish to stay).
So let us get busy NOW and not delay until we reach another point of desperation—March 19, 2019.
Let us also strive diligently to develop our country in every way possible, so that more and more Liberians from the USA and elsewhere would willingly and happily return—with their families—and enjoy our beloved country and help to make it a great and glorious land of liberty.