Liberians in the US sued Trump Administration win DED Extension

By: Flomo Yarkpawolo

On March 28, President Trump extended the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program for Liberians for twelve months, through March 31, 2020. This decision comes hours ahead of an emergency hearing in federal court in a lawsuit filed by the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Lawyers for Civil Rights calling for the administration to reverse its decision to terminate DED, a life-saving immigration program, for Liberian immigrants. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of African Communities Together (ACT), the UndocuBlack Network, and over a dozen affected individuals, including Liberians raising U.S. citizen children. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Speaking after the extension was granted, Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said, “This is a major win for families and communities impacted by the administration’s discriminatory decision to terminate a humanitarian relief program that provided a safe haven for thousands of Liberian immigrants who have been peacefully contributing to their communities and our economy for decades. This victory helps protect the rights of thousands of Liberian immigrants who faced the looming threat of deportation.”

“The UndocuBlack Network has arduously fought for the integrity, dignity and humanity of all undocumented Black people,” said Patrice Lawrence, National Policy and Advocacy Director for UndocuBlack Network. “This fight with our Liberian community has been long, hard and frustrating. Our work is personal and to that end we are very grateful for the support that our Liberian communities have gotten from our partners and allies. This win, though incremental, minute and still a termination of status, must be recognized as the monumental power of the people. The president overturned his own decision, we have more might than we can even begin to imagine. I am proud to lead this fight with you all.”

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 55th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.

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