PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — President Donald Trump is extending a humanitarian program that allows Liberians to live and work in the U.S.
The White House said Thursday that Trump signed a one-year extension of the program for immigrants who came from the African nation to escape environmental disasters and war. The status for thousands of Liberians was set to expire Sunday.
The Republican president decided last year to end the Deferred Enforced Departure program that dates to 2007. He said it wasn’t needed because conditions in Liberia have improved.
Two civil rights organizations sued in Boston on behalf of 15 Liberian immigrants earlier this month.
Trump now says a “12-month wind-down period” for the program is appropriate.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, wants Congress to enact a more permanent legislative resolution.
He released the following statement Thursday:
“On a divisive issue like immigration, I appreciate this a positive step by President Trump. It’s good news for eligible Liberians, for Rhode Island, and our workforce. But it is only temporary relief when what we really need is a permanent fix that puts these law-abiding taxpayers on a path to full citizenship. Separating and uprooting hundreds of Liberian-American families from their jobs and homes and forcing them to return to a country that is unrecognizable for many of them would not have been in America’s best interests. In the long-term, we still need a solution that provides certainty for this population, allowing them to get on a pathway to full citizenship. It is time for Congress to act on legislation that gives Liberians an opportunity to remain here permanently.”