DearColleague.us

Letter

Ilhan Omar

From the office of:

Ilhan Omar


Sending Office: Honorable Ilhan Omar
Sent By:
Ryan.Morgan@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleague:

Current Cosigners: Gwen Moore, Yvette D. Clarke, Barbara Lee, Nydia M. Velázquez, Susan Wild, Betty McCollum, James P. McGovern, Adriano Espaillat, Elijah E. Cummings, Zoe Lofgren, Jerrold Nadler, Angie Craig, Max Rose, Rashida Tlaib

Current Senate Cosigners: Reed, Schumer, Markey, Smith, Hirono, Carper, Coons, Klobuchar, Van Hollen, Harris, Blumenthal, Booker, Whitehouse, Murray, Gillibrand, Cardin, Leahy, Durbin, Warren, Wyden

Please join us and Senator Jack Reed in a bicameral, bipartisan letter to President Trump demanding the urgent extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians.

A seven-year civil war broke out in Liberia in 189 that claimed the lives of over 200,000 people and displaced more than half of the Liberian population. Food production halted, and the country’s infrastructure and economy were destroyed.  A second civil
war followed from 1999 to 2003. Then in 2014, Liberia’s recovering health system faced the challenge of responding to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. 

During this time, thousands of Liberians sought refuge in the United States. Liberians were first granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in 1991 and, since that time, subsequent Administrations have extended TPS and DED for Liberians in recognition of
the danger and instability in the region. Last year, the Trump Administration announced the termination of DED with just a 12-month sunset period. Conditions in Liberia have not improved enough to warrant this decision, and if it is carried out, the termination
of DED represents a real threat to the lives of our Liberian neighbors.
If not extended, DED for Liberians will expire on March 31, 2019.

The deadline for signatures is COB Wednesday, February 27.

If you have any questions, or to sign on, please contact Ryan Morgan (ryan.morgan@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Omar’s office. 

Sincerely,

Ilhan Omar

Member of Congress

Donald M. Payne, Jr.

Member of Congress

Dean Phillips

Member of Congress

David N. Cicilline   

Member of Congress

Adam Smith

Member of Congress

—————————

 

Dear President Trump,

We write to strongly urge you to reinstate Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians.  We ask that you take this action immediately in order to prevent anxiety and legal uncertainty within our Liberian-American communities.

In 1989, a seven-year civil war broke out in Liberia that would claim the lives of over 200,000 people and displace more than half of the Liberian population.  During the conflict, food production ceased, large populations were internally displaced or fled
the country as refugees, and Liberia’s infrastructure and economy were destroyed.  A second civil war followed from 1999 to 2003.  It ended with the departure from power of former President Charles Taylor, who is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence
imposed by the Special Court of Sierra Leone after his conviction for war crimes.  Subsequently, between 2014 and 2016, Liberia faced an extensive Ebola viral outbreak that killed an estimated nearly 5,000 of the over 10,000 persons
who contracted the disease
.  The outbreak devastated the country’s fragile health care system, infrastructure, and economy while exacerbating social tensions.  

As a result of these uniquely tragic developments, thousands of Liberians were forced from their homes.  Many fled to neighboring countries while some sought refuge in the United States.  Attorney General Thornburgh first granted Temporary Protected Status
(TPS) to Liberians present in the United States in 1991.  Subsequent Administrations – citing a variety of compelling foreign policy issues, including challenges linked to ongoing post-Ebola and post-war recovery – have repeatedly extended TPS and DED for
Liberians.  However, on March 27, 2018, you announced the termination of DED for all Liberian beneficiaries. As a result, these persons will be at risk of deportation as of March 31, 2019.

Liberia has only just completed its first democratic transfer of power in decades, via a presidential election held at the end of 2017, and there are still serious concerns about the country’s ability to maintain peace and deliver essential services to its
population.  The United States must pursue all possible efforts to help ensure regional stability, foster Liberia’s continuing post-war recovery, and protect our country’s substantial foreign policy interests, bilateral assistance, and peacekeeping investments. 
While few in number, an influx of Liberians from the United States could overburden the country’s limited infrastructure and reverse the nascent advances that the Liberian people and government have made.  Deporting this population would also prevent its members
from contributing to the crucial private sector investment and socio-economic assistance that they have long provided in the form of remittances to their relatives in Liberia.  

Given these challenges, we believe that it is in the strategic national security, foreign policy, and humanitarian interest of the United States for this population to remain in the United States.   Moreover, for more than a quarter of a century the United
States has been home to law-abiding and taxpaying Liberians.  They have worked hard, played by the rules, and submitted to rigorous vetting.  Uprooting them now would be cruel and harmful to them, their families, and employers.  We therefore respectfully and
urgently request that you reinstate DED for Liberians.

We appreciate your consideration of this request.

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, Foreign Affairs, Immigration

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