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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    Liberians may lose protection

    http://www.projo.com/news/content/projo ... da677.html


    Liberians may lose protection

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says Liberia's recovery from civil war brings to an end America's role in providing legal haven.



    01:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    BY JOHN E. MULLIGAN
    Journal Washington Bureau


    WASHINGTON -- Thousands of Liberians who fled to the United States from their war-torn nation will lose their legal immigration status in about one year, the Department of Homeland Security signaled yesterday.

    The DHS said in a news release that Liberia's recovery from the civil war has rendered its refugees here ineligible for a program created to protect such foreign nationals.

    Liberian nationals will be removed on Oct. 1, 2007, from Temporary Protected Status -- the immigration program that has given Liberian nationals legal haven in this country since the civil war began in the West African nation in the late 1980s.

    If the change takes place as scheduled, Liberians who have not found an alternative immigration status would have to leave the United States by that date.

    "I don't feel very happy about this," said Danlette Norris, a former president of the Liberian Community Association of Rhode Island Inc.

    Norris yesterday noted the irony that Liberia's progress toward recovery from civil war has jeopardized the legal status of Liberian refugees in this country.

    "We are grateful that the situation is turning around in our country," she said.

    Sen. Jack Reed, who has been active in seeking immigration haven for Liberians in the United States, said the coming change lends new urgency to the longtime efforts in Congress to find a permanent solution to their problem.

    Such a solution was closer than ever this summer when the Senate added to its immigration overhaul bill a provision that would have set many Liberians in the United States on a path to citizenship.

    But that provision died when House and Senate leaders couldn't come to terms on a compromise version of the overall immigration bill.

    Reed said that while seeking a legislative solution, advocates of Liberians will petition the Bush administration to invoke a special program that can delay enforcement of deportation and other steps taken against refugees who lack legal immigration status.

    The DHS said that -- across the country -- 3,600 nationals of Liberia would be affected.

    Since the outbreak of civil war in Liberia, Rhode Island has been home to one of the nation's largest communities of Liberian expatriates. Local Liberian leaders have estimated the Liberian community at 10,000 people or more. Reed's office, however, said it does not know what portion of that community holds protected status. There is also a large Rhode Island contingent of the children of such Liberians.

    If the Liberians lose their protected status, Norris said "families will be broken up by this change."

    The TPS program is designed for foreign nationals who have fled here from such dangers as war or natural disaster in their homelands. The DHS said in its news release that conditions in Liberia have improved since the end of the civil war to the extent that TPS is no longer applicable to Liberian refugees.

    Reed echoed Norris' suggestion that the coming change stems from news that is gratifying to Liberians in this country: the nation's gradual ascent from the chaos of civil war.

    "Part of this is the realization that the Liberians are making great progress under their new president," Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Reed said.

    Former President Charles Taylor, removed from power about three years ago, is now in The Hague, awaiting prosecution for alleged crimes in connection with the war, Reed noted.

    Johnson-Sirleaf alluded to the dilemma of Liberian refugees in the United States when she addressed a joint meeting of Congress in March.

    She called upon those exiles who can to return to help rebuild Liberia. For those unable to do so, however, she called upon the United States to extend protected immigration status or some other form of residency.

    Reed said he appreciated the administration's decision to give Liberians a full year's notice of the impending change. He attributed the decision in part to "sensitivity to the new government's wishes" on the matter of the refugees.

    Liberian refugees in Rhode Island and elsewhere in the United States have endured uncertain legal status here for the duration of the civil war. Temporary Protected Status has generally been renewed year by year, leaving Liberian nationals and their employers in some suspense about their future in this country.

    "Our struggle continues," said Norris.

    jmulligan@belo-dc.com / (202) 661-8423
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  2. #2
    MW
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    Senior Member MW's Avatar
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    Such a solution was closer than ever this summer when the Senate added to its immigration overhaul bill a provision that would have set many Liberians in the United States on a path to citizenship.
    How so, they are not illegal immigrants. They are protected visitors, now that the issue that brought them to the United States has been resolved, it is time for them to go home. Geez, I let my mother come to my home for extended visits periodically, but I sure as heck won't ask her to move in permanently!! Why are we waiting a year? They've already been living off our generosity for years almost 20 years, time to send them home. Is it only me, or has anyone else noticed how cheap our elected politicians consider U.S. citizenship? Why do our elected representatives on the Hill insist on selling one of the most sought after possessions in the world for so little (American citizenship)? The end result of wholesale citizenship will be an overpopulated United States - it's only a matter of time. Personally, I think immigration should be reduced to meet replacement levels only, not increased. The population of the United States has probably tripled in the last 100 years. Exactly how many people is enough?

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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  3. #3
    TheOstrich's Avatar
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    I agree with you 100%, MW.

    Ostrich

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