DED for Liberians Extended One Year

Liberian market on Staten Island (Photo by Yiqin Shen for Voices of NY)

Liberians living in the U.S. under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status got a reprieve on March 28, when President Trump extended the status for a year beyond March 31 – the date on which it had been set to expire.

Numerous immigrant-serving organizations, including UndocuBlack Network (UBN) and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), were cheered by the news. Patrice Lawrence,  national policy and advocacy director of UBN, said in a statement that “the UndocuBlack Network has arduously fought for the integrity, dignity and humanity of all undocumented Black people. This fight with our Liberian community has been long, hard and frustrating. Our work is personal and to that end we are very grateful for the support that our Liberian communities have gotten from our partners and allies.”

And Nana Gyamfi, executive director of BAJI, observed that “at a time when victories are few and far between, this win shows that when Black immigrants and African-Americans unite we are a force to be reckoned with.”

Leaders at both organizations, however, noted that the move was incremental, and they called on Congress to take action to provide a pathway to permanent status for DED, TPS (temporary protected status) holders and other undocumented immigrants and their families by enacting the American Dream and Promise Act.

Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island), whose district is home to Little Liberia, acknowledged the “huge relief” that the extension brought, and vowed to push for the legislation. Rose was among 50 members of Congress who wrote President Trump earlier this month urging the extension.

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