‘A Major Win’ for Liberian Families’ in US: Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Welcomes DED Extension

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Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Following Mounting Pressure from Civil Rights Groups, Trump Administration Orders Extension of DED for Liberians

Boston, MA – The US-based Lawyers for Human Rights has described US President Donald Trump’s extension of the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program for Liberians for twelve months, through March 31, 2020 as a major win for Liberian families residing in the United States of America.

“This is a major win for families and communities impacted by the administration’s discriminatory decision to terminate a humanitarian relief program that provided a safe haven for thousands of Liberian immigrants who have been peacefully contributing to their communities and our economy for decades,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.


President Trump’s decision came hours ahead of an emergency hearing in the US Federal Court in a lawsuit filed by the civil rights organization, calling for the administration to reverse its decision to terminate DED, a life-saving immigration program, for Liberian immigrants.


“Our members are celebrating because the shadow of imminent deportation no longer hangs over their heads. Credit goes to the brave Liberian DED holders and civil rights advocates who stepped forward to challenge this hasty and unjust termination. We plan to use this one-year reprieve to keep up the fight for Liberian DED holders and their families.”


Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African Communities Together

The lawsuit, the first of its kind in the country, was filed on behalf of African Communities Together (ACT), the UndocuBlack Network, and over a dozen affected individuals, including Liberians raising U.S. citizen children.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

“This victory helps protect the rights of thousands of Liberian immigrants who faced the looming threat of deportation. While this relief is not final, it provides a reprieve for families who faced the risk of being torn apart.” Clarke said Thursday.


“We are proud to stand with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of Liberian nationals who have built lives, livelihoods, and families in the United States in the 20 years this life saving policy has been in place. This is an important, but only temporary victory, and we will continue this important work until the permanent safety and peace of mind of our clients is assured.”


Dennis H. Hranitzky, partner at Dechert LLP who served as co-counsel to the lawsuit.

She added: “Ending DED was neither right nor lawful. It is no coincidence that this administration took this action weeks after the filing of our litigation and hours before an emergency hearing scheduled by the court in this matter. As we continue to fight for full and final relief through litigation, we will continue to demonstrate the ways in which President Trump’s animus towards Liberians influenced his decision to end the DED program.”

Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African Communities Together described the extension as a crucial victory. “Our members are celebrating because the shadow of imminent deportation no longer hangs over their heads. Credit goes to the brave Liberian DED holders and civil rights advocates who stepped forward to challenge this hasty and unjust termination. We plan to use this one-year reprieve to keep up the fight for Liberian DED holders and their families.”

Oren Nimni, staff attorney with Lawyers for Civil Rights added: “We are proud to stand with our allies and partners, including African Communities Together, UndocuBlack, and our courageous Liberian clients who have been living, working, and raising U.S. citizen children for nearly three decades in the United States.”

Dennis H. Hranitzky, partner at Dechert LLP who served as co-counsel said, “We are proud to stand with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of Liberian nationals who have built lives, livelihoods, and families in the United States in the 20 years this life saving policy has been in place. This is an important, but only temporary victory, and we will continue this important work until the permanent safety and peace of mind of our clients is assured.”

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 55th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.

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