Motilal Oswal
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Motilal Oswal
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Liberians grapple with potential loss of US legal status

Updated : 2019-05-15 09:18:40

As snow blanketed African markets, churches and graves in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, in February, members of the Liberian community were praying fervently that this would not be their last winter in the United States.

A form of immigration status known as Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) – which had protected the migrants from deportation and allowed them to work legally – was due to expire in March, meaning they would have had to leave the country voluntarily or be deported.

It was all part of the effort by President Donald Trump's administration to widen its crackdown on legal and illegal immigration to the United States.

Days before the March deadline, Trump granted Liberians a reprieve to last through March 30, 2020. Though relieved, community members recognized that the clock was simply reset for the thousands of Liberians who fled civil war and instability in their home country in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Grace Zeon, a US citizen by birth whose parents are Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status holders, plays a game on her father's phone as she waits to go to church the Sunday morning after her DED status was extended in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Grace Zeon, a US citizen by birth whose parents are Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status holders, plays a game on her father's phone as she waits to go to church the Sunday morning after her DED status was extended in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Women depart in the snow after a Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) rally at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Women depart in the snow after a Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) rally at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status holders and their supporters hold a DED rally at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status holders and their supporters hold a DED rally at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Liberian immigration activists, led by Erasmus Williams, Pastor Francis Tabla and Kamaty Diahn ask staff members why their meeting with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz was cancelled, the day after the DED (Deferred Enforced Departure) status was extended for one year by the Trump administration. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Liberian immigration activists, led by Erasmus Williams, Pastor Francis Tabla and Kamaty Diahn ask staff members why their meeting with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz was cancelled, the day after the DED (Deferred Enforced Departure) status was extended for one year by the Trump administration. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
People order Liberian stews for lunch at the Africa International Market in the Liberian immigrant enclave of Brooklyn Park. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
People order Liberian stews for lunch at the Africa International Market in the Liberian immigrant enclave of Brooklyn Park. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status holder and Liberian community activist Famatta Zeon pray during a DED prayer service in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status holder and Liberian community activist Famatta Zeon pray during a DED prayer service in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status holders and supporters dance during a thanksgiving service on Sunday after the DED status was extended, meaning they were not in immediate danger of family separation, in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status holders and supporters dance during a thanksgiving service on Sunday after the DED status was extended, meaning they were not in immediate danger of family separation, in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status holder and Liberian community activist Famatta Zeon, with her daughter Grace, visit Brooklyn United Methodist Church to thank the congregants for their support on a Sunday morning after the DED status was extended in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status holder and Liberian community activist Famatta Zeon, with her daughter Grace, visit Brooklyn United Methodist Church to thank the congregants for their support on a Sunday morning after the DED status was extended in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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