President Trump declared today that protected status for Liberians will wind down over the next year as “conditions in Liberia no longer warrant a further extension” of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) but “foreign policy interests of the United States warrant affording an orderly transition” to current beneficiaries.
According to USCIS, Liberia is currently the only country covered under DED, which is not a specific immigration status but specifies that individuals covered are not subject to removal from the United States for a designated period of time.
First authorized due to the country’s civil war, DED for Liberians was extended several times because of political and economic conditions in the African nation. The latest extension from President Obama expires on March 31.
“Through consultation with appropriate executive departments and agencies and my advisors, I have been informed that conditions in Liberia have improved. Liberia is no longer experiencing armed conflict and has made significant progress in restoring stability and democratic governance,” Trump wrote in a memo to the State Department and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. “Liberia has also concluded reconstruction from prior conflicts, which has contributed significantly to an environment that is able to handle adequately the return of its nationals. The 2014 outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease caused a tragic loss of life and economic damage to the country, but Liberia has made tremendous progress in its ability to diagnose and contain future outbreaks of the disease.”
During the wind-down period from April 1, 2018, through March 31, 2019, USCIS said it will “automatically extend employment authorization documents (EADs) for current Liberian DED beneficiaries who have EADs bearing a March 31, 2018, expiration date until Sept. 30, 2018, but beneficiaries will need to apply for employment authorization for the final 6 months.”
USCIS said more details would be released in the coming days.