With just days to go before the Sunday deadline, the Administration extended Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberian recipients through March 30, 2020
Liberians have had protected status in the United States since 1991; Protections have been extended by presidents of both parties since 2007
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statement after the Administration extended protected status for Liberian recipients of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) through March 30, 2020, before those protections were set to expire on Sunday. Liberians have had protected status in the U.S. since President George H.W. Bush first approved Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Liberia in response to its civil war in 1991. That status was extended under presidents from both parties until it expired in 2007, at which time President George W. Bush granted DED protections to Liberians. Since 2007, DED has been extended by subsequent administrations, allowing recipients to remain in the United States legally and receive work authorization.
“Minnesota is home to one of the largest Liberian populations in the country, and Liberians across the country serve as business owners, teachers, and health care workers and are an incredibly important part of our workforce. They have worked hard, played by the rules, and submitted to rigorous vetting, and for over a decade, presidents from both parties have extended their protected status. While today’s extension of Deferred Enforced Departure is good news, it is now time for Congress to remove this source of uncertainty and take up legislation to provide permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship.”
Klobuchar has been urgently requesting that the Administration extend these protections for Liberians. As a member of the Judiciary Committee she has emphasized the need to extend DED to Administration officials and Senate leaders. Yesterday, Klobuchar and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging him to allow the Senate to consider legislation to extend protected status for Liberian recipients of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) before it expires on Sunday. In February, Klobuchar, Smith, and U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Collin Peterson (D-MN) sent a letter to President Trump asking him to extend protected status for Liberians in the United States, allowing recipients to remain in the country legally and receive work authorization.
In the Senate, Klobuchar is a cosponsor of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, led by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), which would allow eligible Liberians to apply for permanent residency and provide them with a pathway to citizenship. She is also a cosponsor of the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act which would allow qualified TPS and DED recipients to apply for legal permanent residency.