Some 4,000 Liberians residing in the United States are breathing an air of relief again after President Donald Trump extended the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) by 12 months last week following huge lobby by several members of Congress, rights campaigners and lawyers.The deportation should have been announced by Sunday, 31 March.
Thousands of Liberians fled two civil wars at home between 1989 and 2003 to the United States and were allowed to live in America under the Deferred Enforced Departure.
President Trump in an Executive Order last Thursday, said, “Upon further reflection and review, I have decided that it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to extend the wind-down period for an additional 12 months, through March 30, 2020. The overall situation in West Africa remains concerning, and Liberia is an important regional partner for the United States.”
He noted reintegration of DED beneficiaries into Liberian civil and political life will be a complex task, and an unsuccessful transition could strain United States-Liberian relations and undermine Liberia’s post-civil war strides toward democracy and political stability.
“Further, I understand that there are efforts underway by members of Congress to provide relief for the small population of Liberian DED beneficiaries, who remain in the United States. Extending the wind-down period will preserve the status quo, while the Congress considers remedial legislation”, the U.S. President added.