WASHINGTON (AP) — Liberian immigrants living in the United States without a visa won’t be sent back to the epicenter of Ebola crisis in West Africa for at least another two years, the Obama administration said Friday.
President Barack Obama signed a memo extending a legal protection called “deferred enforced departure” that continues a protection from deportation that has been in place for more than a decade.
The government first granted Liberians temporary protective status during that country’s bloody civil war, which started in 1991 and ended in 2003.
That original protection expired in October 2007. President George W. Bush then approved deferred enforced departure for the community.
Obama later approved the same protection and Friday renewed it again for two more years.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., applauded the decision, which he says protects immigrants with long-standing ties to the United States.
Reed has introduced legislation that would grant permanent residence to many Liberians now living in the U.S.