President Donald Trump has ordered an end to special legal status for certain immigrants from Liberia, including some who have lived in the United States for decades, effective next year, citing improved conditions in the West African nation.
“Liberia is no longer experiencing armed conflict and has made significant progress in restoring stability and democratic governance,” according to a memorandum signed by Trump and released by the White House.
Some Liberians have been eligible for either Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure since March 1991 due to civil war, fragile political and economic conditions and an Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the memorandum said. The special status will end on March 31, 2019.
“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,” Trump said.
“The 2014 outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease caused a tragic loss of life and economic damage to the country, but Liberia has made tremendous progress in its ability to diagnose and contain future outbreaks of the disease,” Trump added.
A 12-month “wind-down” period starting March 31, 2018, will allow the Liberian government to prepare to re-integrate returning citizens and give time for affected Liberians to “make necessary arrangements,” said the memorandum, which was addressed to the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump previously included three other African countries — Chad, Somalia and Libya — among several nations whose citizens were blocked from entering the United States.