WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) applauded the Biden Administration’s extension and expansion of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and employment authorization for Liberians who have long called the United States home.
Under the President’s memorandum, “the removal of any Liberian national, or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia, who is present in the United States and who was under a grant of DED as of June 30, 2022, as well as any Liberian national, or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia, who has been continuously physically present in the United States since May 20, 2017” will be delayed through June 30, 2024.
In their letter to President Biden earlier this year, Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressman Cicilline urged the Administration to provide this extension, noting that previous DED extension have been a “vital lifeline” for the Liberian community and backlogs at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would put those who have already applied for lawful permanent status at risk of having their DED run out before their applications could be processed.
“Congress acted in 2019 to provide Liberians with DED status a pathway to citizenship. Today’s action by the Biden Administration ensures that people who have built a life here, put down roots, and contributed to our communities have a fair opportunity to apply to become American citizens,” said Reed, Whitehouse and Cicilline in a joint statement.
Senator Reed and Congressman Cicilline are the leading sponsors of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, which became law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 (Public Law 116-92). This created a pathway to citizenship for the thousands of Liberians who have called the U.S. home for years – contributing to our workforce, paying taxes, and become integral members of our communities.