WHEREAS, Liberia's history is closely tied to the United States and to African Americans since the first part of the 19th century; and
WHEREAS, in 2007 President Bush issued an order granting Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) to the thousands of Liberians previously granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to the continued adverse conditions following decades of armed conflict in Liberia that ended in 2003, and directed the Department of Homeland Security to implement procedures for granting work authorization to DED-covered Liberians; and in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2016, President Obama finding compelling foreign policy reasons, extended the DED through March 31, 2018; and
WHEREAS, on March 27, 2018, President Trump issued an order directing the Department of Homeland Security to implement a wind-down period for Liberian DED beneficiaries and to end protections, without a pathway to citizenship, on March 31, 2019, citing improved conditions in Liberia despite acknowledging an Ebola Virus outbreak as late as 2014; and
WHEREAS, there are approximately 4,000 Liberians who face deportation and separation from their families in less than a year, following President Trump's order ending DED protections; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2018, the United Nations reported that despite progress in peace building efforts, Liberia still faces significant economic challenges and a slow recovery from the Ebola crisis and declared that the Liberian government could not be expected to handle these broad and demanding challenges alone including additional issues concerning national reconciliation, human rights, rule of law, marginalization of the periphery and basic governance capacity; and
WHEREAS, Congressman Keith Ellison, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of Minnesota, which contains the largest Liberian population in the U.S., has introduced the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 2018 (H.R. 5072); which would protect Liberians in the U.S. with DED status from deportation.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP take all steps necessary to assist the Liberian refugees, to include supporting H.R. 5072 and undertaking any appropriate litigation to support the Liberians.