Deferred Enforcement Departure benefits for Liberian beneficiaries in the United States will be ending on March 31, 2019. Civil rights lawyers and advocacy groups for undocumented immigrants from Africa are challenging the end of DED benefits, asking for injunctive relief for 15 Liberians who are raising U.S.-citizen children. Their claim hopes to prevent the White House from enforcing the termination of DED benefits or taking any action to terminate DED for Liberians.
Like TPS, Deferred Enforcement Departure is a country-specific protection extended to foreign-born U.S. residents in response to violence, unrest, or natural disasters. Since 1990, DED has been used five times, most recently for Liberia. Recipients of DED are authorized to work, but have a status similar to people under prosecutorial discretion.
Unlike TPS recipients, DED recipients receive their protections by presidential powers. TPS is a statutory protection, meaning it’s a protection under the law. DED is a protection granted by the president’s discretion.
In 2017 and 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that TPS benefits would end for people from Sudan, Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Nepal, and Honduras. TPS was extended only for Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and South Sudan. Meanwhile, Liberians continue to be the only class of people granted protections under DED. They’ve been designated for DED since 2007, but in March 2018 the White House announced a “wind-down” period to eventually end DED for all Liberian beneficiaries in the United States. Earlier this month, 50 members of Congress wrote a letter asking President Trump to reinstate DED for Liberia.
There may be a legislative solution soon, if the House can pass it. Last week, lawmakers from California and New York introduced a bill that would provide a pathway to legal citizenship for DACA, TPS, and DED beneficiaries. In the meantime, DED holders need to keep themselves informed about the developments surrounding their status. If at all possible, they should be exploring their visa options with a local immigration attorney as soon as possible.
Call our New Jersey immigration lawyer today to learn your legal options. Call (800) 909-8129 today.
Warning: beware of “notarios” who claim they can help with your case. In the United States, notarios (or notaries) are legally barred from handling immigration matters. If you meet one who offers you legal advice on your case, they are frauds and should be avoided.