In a March 25, 2019 article the Liberian Observer noted
“Thousands of Liberians could be facing deportation from the United States on March 31 unless executive action is taken by President Trump.”
The article is referring to the thousands of Liberians being considered for special presidential protection to extend their ability to continue to reside in the US. Taking action to extend this program would be in direct contradiction to his statements last year when the Temporary Protected Status given to the Liberian population expired:
“Liberia is no longer experiencing armed conflict and has made significant progress in restoring stability and democratic governance,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Liberia has also concluded reconstruction from prior conflicts, which has contributed significantly to an environment that is able to handle adequately the return of its nationals” President Trump noted on March 27, 2018.
President Trump called for an “Orderly transition” and stated that he would extend the protections for 12 months “To allow the those who are here under the TPS to get their affairs in order to return home.” However, now that those 12 months are coming to an end, there appears to be a possible change of verbiage from the administration as pressure to extend the deadline again is coming from activists and others who feel they have a vested interest in advocating for the Liberians to stay.
The History of Liberian Temporary Protected Status:
- 1991- Civil conflict broke out in Liberia. This prompted then President George Bush to offer TPS to thousands of displaced Liberians.
- 1996-Five years later when the government was toppled by rebel groups, President Bush extended the TPS saying that it was not safe for Liberians to return home.
- 1999- When the TPS expired again President Clinton saw fit to issue an executive order of protection by way of Deferred Enforcement Deportation. He noted “Although the civil war in Liberia ended in 1996 and conditions have improved such that a further extension of Temporary Protected Status is no longer warranted, the political and economic situation continues to be fragile.”
- 2002- After a second civil war broke out President George W. Bush issued another TPS designation to Liberia citing “Ongoing armed conflict.” Following that action, he continued to reissue the TPS until the end of his presidency. In doing so, he stated “TPS was no longer warranted since the second civil war ended in 2003, again cited the weak “political and economic conditions.”
- 2009-Obama cited continued economic and instability as he reissued DED protection for Liberians through 2013.
- 2014- Liberia was again granted TPS status in response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus. At this time Obama also issued TPS for Guinea and Sierra Leone citing the Ebola as the catalyst for the additional countries.
- 2015- The World Health Organization announced the Ebola Virus outbreak ended in spring of 2015. However, President Obama continued to reissues DED status through the end of his administration, citing “compelling foreign policy reasons“.
- 2018- President Trump announced that he would end the TPS status citing improved conditions in the region that would allow the citizens to return to their home country.
Why President Trump was correct to end the program:
- It has been 28 years since the first Liberians arrived under the label of “individuals needing protected status.”
- 16 years have passed since the last civil conflict in the region
- Liberia has seen steady growth in its economy. Last year its GDP rose 2.5%. The unemployment rate has fallen to 2.4%
- Additionally, it is not unreasonable to assert that those who have benefitted from the United States educational systems for the past 28 years could now return to their home and use the knowledge they have gained to better their country.
- According the USAID website the United States sent $212 million dollars to Liberia in 2018, and we have provided them over 1 billion dollars in since 2016. I feel it is reasonable to ask how much economic aid does the country need in order to be able to bring their refugees home?
- It is important to reiterate that while they are living in the US, the TPS holders are allowed to access welfare and social services. By sending aid to the country and offering welfare to the countries citizens who remain here, it could be argued that the United States is paying welfare twice to Liberia.
The Current Narrative :
Currently, the media and advocacy organizations are pressuring President Trump to continue to extend the DED.
- Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is a temporary, discretionary, administrative stay of removal granted to aliens from designated countries. Unlike TPS, DED emanates from the President’s constitutional powers to conduct foreign relations and has no statutory basis. [Emphasis added/ USCIS]
What are Future Implications if the TPS or DED is Extended:
- This action opens the door to legitimize actions like DACA as well as potential lawsuits brought by other groups of individuals who feel they have a right to be here even when our laws are contradictory to that presumption.
- It also perpetuates further actions from the special interest groups who make it their mission to advocate for the rights of those who should never be here to begin with.
- This action is bringing validity to those who live here illegally and allowing them to be rewarded for breaking our laws.
In conclusion, if President Trump waivers on ending the TPS for the Liberian citizens, then he might as well change the TPS to PPS (permeant protected status). Basically, what the US is saying to all other impoverished countries is this:
“No matter what pretense you arrive in America under, you will be allowed to stay. You will be given access to social welfare programs and permitted to compete with our native citizens for jobs and scholarships. We will not send you home.” This is a dangerous message to send to a world full of millions of migrant; many who would love a chance to come to the United States….the US cannot save the world from poverty. Sadly, it is not possible to bring the American Dream to everyone in the world who like to achieve it. Attempting to do so will bring destruction and death to a nation of American citizens. Citizens who have the right to seek there own American Dreams and not the duty to provide them others.