TPS For Liberians Extended

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

September 30, 2002

The Bush administration has extended for another year the immigration status of more than 10,000 Liberians whose Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status expired on Saturday, September 28, 2002. According to the Associated Press, Senator Jack Reed received the information from US Attorney General John Ashcroft. Senator Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, is spearheading the efforts to grant green cards to Liberians residing in the US.

TPS for Liberians ended on September 28, 1999, at which time the Clinton administration determined that for foreign policy reasons it was necessary to extend the protection from removal for another year. The extension, known as Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), granted by the Clinton administration was renewed annually. Under the DED, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) stipulated that it would defer for one year the removal of certain qualified Liberians present in the United States.

Renewing the DED last year, President George W. Bush stated, "There continues to be compelling foreign policy reasons not to deport these Liberians at this time. In particular, there is a significant risk that such a decision would cause the involuntary repatriation of many thousands of Liberian refugees in West Africa, causing instability in Liberia and the region."

The latest extension changes the status of Liberians from DED back to Temporary Protective Status (TPS). Senator Reed attributes the change to the fact that Liberia has remained unstable for Liberians to return home.

Associated Press quoted the Senator as saying; "It is frustrating that these families continue to live in limbo and today's action ensures uncertainty and disruption again nest year."

The civil war that caused the unprecedented flight of Liberians from their homeland ended in July 1997 when that West African nation had elections that brought Mr. Taylor to power. But Liberia is still at war with itself. The abuse of human rights with impunity is on the rise. Though President Taylor recently lifted the State of Emergency he declared on Feb 8, 2002, which gave him absolute powers, opposition politicians are not in a hurry to return home because of Mr. Taylor's record.

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