Last week, President Obama signed an executive order granting a 12-month extension to Liberians residing in the United States legally on a temporary immigration status. Liberians in Minnesota and other states across the nation breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated last Friday after hearing the news.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a congressional leader on the Liberian immigration issue, expressed his support of the extension, "This was the right thing to do to keep families together and it embraces the fundamental foundation of an immigrant nation."
While pleased with the extension, community leaders have pledged to keep pressure on Congress to provide Liberians with an expedient route to citizenship. Last week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and others introduced the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 2009 (S. 656). The bill would give Liberians who legally entered the U.S. on temporary protection status access to citizenship.
I applaud President Obama for taking the necessary measures to keep families together and prohibit devastating deportations of our neighbors and community members. The extension and the bill are a double victory for Liberian immigrants and their families.
Thank you to everyone who took action in support of the extension!
Bailey Craft is a volunteer program assistant at the Minnesota Literacy Council, which provides literacy services to immigrants and refugees.