Joint Statement by Liberian Council of Churches and
the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
WASHINGTON: The Liberian Council of Churches (LCC) joins with the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) in expressing its gratitude to the Trump Administration for its extension of the deadline for persons affected by the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program dating back to March 1991. This program, set to end its “wind-down” period on March 31, 2019, and thus force deportation of 4,200 Liberians currently living under protected status in the United States, has been extended one year.
On a recent trip to Liberia to address the 32nd General Assembly of the Liberia Council of Churches, General Secretary/President Jim Winkler pledged to Bishop Kortu K. Brown, President, members of the LCC, and the Liberian people in general through the mass media, that NCC would advocate to protect the status of Liberians in the US. This is a response to the Biblical mandate to welcome and care for the sojourner and immigrant and refugee. A bill currently before Congress would help protect Liberians in the US: the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, sponsored by Rep. David Cicilline and Sen. Jack Reed, will give Liberians an opportunity to apply for permanent residency and, eventually, a path to citizenship.
President Trump writes, “Upon further reflection and review, I have decided that it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to extend the wind-down period for an additional 12 months, through March 30, 2020… Further, I understand that there are efforts underway by Members of Congress to provide relief for the small population of Liberian DED beneficiaries who remain in the United States. Extending the wind-down period will preserve the status quo while Congress considers remedial legislation.” We are grateful for the advocacy by our member communions and partner organizations that made this possible.
We ask that President Trump remove the possibility of deportation from these persons who have come to the US fleeing war and disease. We urge Congress to ensure these protections are brought to the floor and passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate as clean, unified, and stand-alone legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for all dreamers, TPS recipients, and for persons with DED status.