Pres. Trump Sued over Imminent Deportation of Liberians
BOSTON — U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is facing a lawsuit filed by two civil rights organizations over his March 2018 decision to terminate the Deferred Enforced Departure program (DED) which has over a decade allowed Liberians and other nationals to live and work in the United States.
The termination of DED for Liberians is likely to take place at the end of March.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 15 Liberian immigrants in the U.S.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Lawyers for Civil Rights filed the lawsuit in federal court in Boston.
The lawyers fear that President Trump’s decision would break families apart, adding that it is unconstitutional, based on ethnicity, race and national origin. They noted that Some of the Liberian immigrants have children who are U.S. citizens.
“Defendant Trump has a history of bigoted remarks and actions that make clear that he holds racial animus against immigrants of color,” according to the lawsuit.
DED protects about 4,000 Liberian immigrants who escaped the civil war which occurred between 1990 and 2003 and the Ebola Virus Disease which struck the country in 2014.
“We will not stand idly by as immigrants of color are threatened with detention and deportation,” said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights, in an emailed statement. “We will not allow the Trump Administration to trample on our dignity and our constitutional rights. We will resist all forms of discrimination, and we will hold the Trump Administration accountable for attacking Liberian families.”
In addition to the 15 Liberian immigrants, the organizations African Communities Together and the UndocuBlack Network are named as plaintiffs.
Separately on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced an 18-month of extension of another blanket form of humanitarian relief called Temporary Protected Status for fewer than 100 people from South Sudan. The department said in a press release that “ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions” in the African nation justified the extension to Nov. 2, 2020.
The decision was a mixed bag for South Sudanese because it applies only to those in the United States continuously since May 3, 2016. More recent arrivals are ineligible.
The Trump administration has ended Temporary Protected Status for several other countries but faces legal challenges. A federal judge has temporarily blocked the administration on withdrawing the benefit for people of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.