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Cuomo Top Aide, Liberian Advocates Condemn Trump End to DED

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E-mail: press@nyic.org
(Thursday, March 29, 2018)

Cuomo Top Aide, Liberian Advocates Condemn Trump End to DED

+ 5 Fast Facts on Liberian Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)


NEW YORK, NY - On Tuesday, March 28th, the Trump administration terminated Liberian Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) with a wind-down period of 12 months. Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians was set to expire on this Saturday, March 31st.

In response, Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition said:
“For over a decade, Liberian DED holders have become integral and integrated parts of our social and economic fabric. Uprooting the stable lives of our neighbors, friends, and families is cruel– especially for those without a clear path to citizenship. As we have for TPS holders, we urge DED holders and their communities not to panic and to consult with a lawyer at their earliest ability so they do not lose their ability to work before March 31st, 2019.”

“If the federal government fails to renew Liberian DED, it will be yet another reckless decision that puts immigrants at risk, tears families apart, disrupts small businesses, and leads those who have become part of the American fabric to an uncertain future,” Alphonso David, Counsel to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said. “I fled Liberia as a child because of the coup d’état and civil conflict, and have since been able to pursue my dreams and serve my home state of New York. New York State will continue to fight to protect the right of immigrants, including DED, TPS, and other visa recipients, to have that same opportunity to pursue the American Dream.”​

“Terminating DED for Liberia is the wrong decision. Although as a result of our community's organizing and advocacy, Liberian DED holders will get an additional year of status and work authorization, it is not enough. These Liberian Americans have lived in and contributed to the US for decades—they deserve a chance to do so permanently. Most do not have a viable path to become permanent residents and returning to Liberia is unrealistic for them, their US citizen children, or the country of Liberia. Now it's up to Congress to pass a bill that gives Liberian DED holders, and hundreds of thousands of TPS holders who are in the same situation, permanent status in this country. We urge Congress to take action on the American Promise Act 2017 (H.R. 4253), the SECURE Act (S. 2144), and the ASPIRE TPS Act 2017 (H.R 4384), which would do just that," said Amaha Kassa, founder and Executive Director at African Communities Together (ACT).

In 2007, President George W. Bush directed that DED– a temporary, discretionary, administrative stay of removal granted to nationals from designated countries– be provided for 18 months to Liberians in the United States whose Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was expiring on September 30, 2007. President Obama continued to extend DED for Liberians for 12– 18 months at a time until finally in September 2016, President Obama extended DED for Liberians an additional 18 months. Based on the previous terminations of TPS and other comments from this Administration, we do not anticipate that President Trump will renew the program.

5 Fast Facts on Liberian DED:

1. Liberian DED is granted to a Liberian national or someone who has no nationality who last resided in Liberia who currently resides in the United States, has lived in the United States since October 1st, 2002, and had TPS on September 30, 2007. All Liberian DED holders have lived in the United States for at least 15 years.

2. There are thought to be as many as 4,000 Liberian DED holders nationwide.

3. Liberians living in the United States received TPS in March 1991 when Liberia broke out in a civil war. Although that war ended, a second civil war began in 1999 and escalated in 2000. Approximately 10,000 Liberians in the United States were given DED in 1999 after their TPS expired. As a result of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, eligible Liberians were again granted TPS.

4. DED designation is based on the constitutional authority of the President to conduct the foreign relations of the United States and do what is in the foreign policy interest of the United States.

5. Some DED holders may be eligible for asylum. Others may be able to “adjust” their status to “lawful permanent resident” (obtain a green card). We encourage all Liberian DED holders to consult a lawyer as soon as possible.

Background

The NYIC’s Black Immigrant Engagement Initiative (BIEI) is the first initiative in New York – and one of the first in the country – to focus on supporting New York’s black immigrant-led, community-based organizations and legal service providers. BIEI members engage African, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Latino community members through outreach, direct legal services, advocacy, and mobilization efforts that integrate the black immigrant experience into the greater immigrant rights movement and intersectional movements such as Black Lives Matter. BIEI is led by six member organizations - African Services Committee, African Communities Together, Brooklyn Defenders Service, CAMBA, Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, and Sauti Yetu – and engages dozens more in partnerships.

President Trump has made repeated remarks that demean black immigrants as a monolith– saying that Nigerian immigrants do not want to “go back to their huts,” and that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS”, and more recently that black immigrants should go back to their “shithole countries.” Additionally he and his administration ended or attacked programs that black immigrants have benefited from, like Temporary Protected Status, Diversity Visas, and family reunification.

Temporary Protected Status is a designation afforded to nationals of countries experiencing humanitarian crisis such as violent conflict, environmental disasters, or epidemics that would prevent nationals from returning safely. As of today, there are an estimated 305,000 TPS recipients living in the United States, representing ten TPS-designated countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.The Trump Administration has ended TPS for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador. Over 30,000 TPS recipients reside in New York, including 16,200 Salvadorans, 4,600 Hondurans, and 5,200 Haitians.

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