The US extends immigration status for citizens of Sierra Leone and Liberia

A press release on the White House website states that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, has authorized a six-month extension to the Temporary Protected Status of countries affected by the Ebola virus. The countries include Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. A memorandum was issued less than a week after this by President Barack Obama. It directs the implementation of an 18-month Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for citizens of Liberia in the US through to 18 March 2018.

The DED directive from the President means that work permits for Liberian immigrants fleeing to the US from their country, which has been in the middle of a civil war for 11 years, will now be automatically extended.

The extension does not cover Liberian immigrants who have not already been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as of 30 September 2007. Neither does it cover some criminals or those subject to the TPS mandatory bars, and whose removal would be in the best interest of the country, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Ellen Dunbar, the Washington-based CEO of Miss Africa Foundation, was thrilled by the announcement. Born in Liberia, Ms. Dunbar is also a member of Campaign to Renew TPS for Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

Dunbar says that she wholeheartedly approves of the decision made by President Barack Obama to extend the DED, calling it the only humanitarian move to make to avoid potential deportations.