Trump gives Liberian immigrants a year to leave or face deportation
2 April 2018
President Donald Trump announced in a memo last Tuesday to the Department of Homeland Security that he was formally ending the program known as Deferred Enforced Departure, which allowed Liberian immigrants to stay and work legally in the United States since 1999. The program was established by President Bill Clinton in response to the devastated social and economic situation in Liberia following the brutal civil war of the 1990s.
More than 800,000 Liberians fled their country during the civil war, with a small percentage reaching the United States, where an estimated 4,000 reside to this day. These workers now have a year to leave the country or face deportation.
The Deferred Enforced Departure program had been renewed by subsequent administrations since 1999, but Trump’s memo declared that improved conditions in Liberia meant that the program was no longer necessary.
“Liberia is no longer experiencing armed conflict and has made significant progress in restoring stability and democratic governance,” the memo said. “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.”
In fact, Liberia has yet to recover from the devastating Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015 which claimed nearly 5,000 lives in Western Africa. As a result, the health care system is in shambles as well as the overall economy. Unemployment and government corruption have made Liberia rank 177 out of 188 on the United Nation’s Human Development Index, with 80 percent of the population living on $1.25 a day.
Liberia was founded by freed American slaves in 1822 but became a de facto…