Sen. Tina Smith’s Statement on Trump Administration’s Decision to End Program Protecting Liberian-Americans from Deportation

Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith released the following statement about the Trump Administration’s announcement that it will be ending the Deferred Enforced Departure program for Liberian immigrants: 

“Minnesota is now home to one of the largest Liberian-American communities in the country, some 30,000 people strong. It’s their home. And today’s news that President Trump decided, effective March 31, 2019, to terminate Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberia—the program that allowed survivors of Liberia’s bloody civil war to stay in the U.S.— is shameful.

“For the overwhelming majority of people this decision affects, there is nothing to go back to in Liberia. The U.S. is the only home many of them have ever really known.

“This decision will rip families apart. It goes against who we are as a nation. It means we’ll lose employees, innovators, and community leaders that make Minnesota—and our country—a better place.

“I’d been pressing this administration to extend DED for Liberians. Just last week, I met with Secretary Nielsen, who heads the Department of Homeland Security, to ask her to extend DED, and I followed up that meeting with a call to the White House to underscore just how important this is. And I’ll continue to make the case and will press the administration to reverse this decision. Between now and March 31, 2019, my office will work with the affected communities in Minnesota and provide all the assistance we can.”