President Obama has extended Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status to eligible Liberians residing in the United States, granting them an 18-month reprieve from imminent deportation. This extension, announced today, will allow Liberians to continue working and living legally in the United States. Of the 25,000 Liberians living in Minnesota, it is estimated that there are between 4,000 and 10,000 Liberians on DED.
In a press statement, Senator Amy Klobuchar, who has been one of several local and national legislators pushing for the extension, said, “Granting Liberians extended DED status is the right decision. The Liberian Community has become an important part of the social fabric of Minnesota – they are our neighbors and our co-workers. While we continue to pursue a permanent solution, it is important that Liberians who are here legally can continue to call Minnesota home.”
Ahmed Sirleaf, of the Advocates of Human Rights, says that Liberian Minnesotans welcome the news with relief. “The community has been very tense as they have been in limbo waiting to know their fate.” In the next one and a half years, Sirleaf urges Liberians to throw their weight behind comprehensive immigration reform. Liberians living in the Diaspora, he says, will continue to help in the restoration of Liberia. In the meantime, as contributors to the US economy, Sirleaf and other immigration activists continue to push for legla permanent residence for Liberians in this continued permanent immigration status.