Liberia: Universal Human Rights International Honors US Congressman Jim McGovern for supporting Green Card, Temporary Protection Status, Embarks on Campaign to ‘Liberate Liberians at Home, Abroad’
Monrovia – The Universal Human Rights International (UHRI) Inc. has embarked on a new campaign to liberate Liberians suffering at home and abroad, beginning with a Zoom event honoring Congressman Jim McGovern of Massachusetts who have championed the cause of Liberians since the Liberian Civil War of 1989.
The diaspora group, including Liberians from several states and the People’s Republic of China, also posthumously honored the late Congressman Joe Moakley and Senator Edward ‘Ted’ Kennedy for their compassion during their time of need.
At a Zoom event recently with Congressman McGovern, the founder of the UHRI, Torli Krua, on behalf of the group of Liberians, said “You were among few U.S. officials who came to our aid when the Liberian Army and rebels tortured and killed Liberians and American religious institutions turned their backs on us.”
“We the Liberian Refugees in the United States are grateful to Congressman Jim McGovern, Senator Jack Reed-D-RI, Congressman Patrick Kennedy-D-RI, the late Congressman Joe Moakley-D-MA, and the late Senator Ted Kennedy-D-MA for their compassion and fairness in considering our plights and regarding our humanity at our greatest time of need,” Rev. Krua said.
“They came to our aid when we had nothing to offer in return and when evangelical leaders, including Rev. Franklin Graham declined to advocate for Liberian refugees in a foreign country. Thank God and Thank you!”
Congressman McGovern represents Massachusetts’ Second Congressional District and also chairs the House Rules Committee and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission at Congress. He thanked the group of Liberians for the recognition and said much of the credits go to his former boss, Hon. Moakley, who inspired him while serving as his staff.
Thousands of Liberians who sought refuge in the United States during the country’s brutal civil wars were denied Temporary Protection Status (TPS) and access to humanitarian assistance for decades and during the remaining term of Republican President George W. Bush and the under two terms of Democrat Barack Obama.
These Liberians included mothers of American-born children who were airlifted to the United States in June 2003 by American Servicemen during ‘Operation Shining Express’, ordered by then President George W. Bush.
“Even after risking the lives of American Soldiers to bring these refugees to safety on America’s shores,” Krua said “they were abandoned in harsh weather conditions and forgotten by America but not by God.”
“Thank God for the Massachusetts delegation to Congress, including Congressmen McGovern and an openly gay congressman, Barney Frank, who began fighting to extend TPS to all Liberians,” he added.
During the time of the refugees’ arrival in 2003, he noted that Liberia was already designated for TPS but the new Liberian arrivals were denied protection, in violation of the “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment of the U.S Constitution. “This was a death sentence.” Krua said.
Now, with the signing of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act authored by Senator Reed-D-RI and signed in 2019 by President Donald Trump, about 10,000 Liberians who fled Liberia’s bloody civil wars and traveled to the U.S. from the beginning of the war in 1990 to November 20, 2014 are eligible to apply for permanent residency.
During the Zoom event, UHRI presented three souvenirs including a Liberian Flag, a Refugee Diaspora book (co-written by Rev. Krua) and Ten African American Presidents to Congressman McGovern.
The Souvenirs, Krua said, represent the ongoing plights of over 6,000 Liberians who have not been able to work since the Act was signed by President Trump in 2019 because they are unable to pay the Green Card application fee of US$1,225.
In addition, he noted the souvenirs also stand for the 4.5 million Liberians back home, who he claimed, are suffering needlessly from endemic corruption, skyrocketing unemployment and other forms of insecurities.
Fates of 6,000 Stranded Liberians in Balance
During the event, Rev. Krua said it was befitting to honor all those who stood with them during the struggle. However, he was quick to point out that all is not yet over as the fates of more than 6,000 unemployed Liberians who are unable to afford the whopping US$1,225 filing fee for a green card hang in the balance as the December 19, 2020 deadline approaches.
He appealed to the U.S. Government through Congressman McGovern to grant an immediate blanket waiver of all green card filing fees for unemployed beneficiaries to expedite the process.
To relieve these stranded Liberians, another participant, Mrs. Martha Ngwayah of Muscatine, Iowa called on the Liberian government to grant an emergency automatic renewal of all old passports for one year on gratis, replace all in-person interviews with video conferencing and waive the US$205 passport fee for all the unemployed beneficiaries of the ‘Fairness Act’.
Mrs. Ngwayah also called on Liberian officials to show compassion to struggling Liberians as lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions have limited travel across the United States.
Others attending the conference included Menson B. Yormie of Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, People’s Republic of China, Rev. Dr. Samuel Vansiea of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Michael Mendoabor of Muscatine, Iowa all called for the intervention of the Liberian Government.
Campaign to Liberate 4.5 Million Liberians at Home
On the plights of the Liberian population at home, Rev. Krua called for intervention of the U.S Congress and American taxpayers who have ‘unwittingly sponsored Liberia’s deadly corrupt system financially’ for 200 years to hold Liberian officials accountable.
According to Krua, Liberia’s 4.5 million people are needlessly suffering from endemic corruption, and other forms of insecurities caused by rising ritualistic killings, secret killings, alarming armed robberies, skyrocketing unemployment, impassable roads and broken bridges.
On top of these hardships, he laments, is the excessive salaries and benefits of Liberian politicians-higher than lawmakers across the United States which has a budget far bigger than Liberia. Compare the annual salary of US$193,400 for Pro Tempore Chuck Grasssley, Speaker at Congress to the whopping US$482,203 for the Liberian Senate Pro Tempore. (Liberia’s budget-US$535 million / USA Budget-US$4.79 trillion dollars)
Krua also announced the launching of the ‘Free Liberia Campaign’ in Liberia this November to recruit Liberian voters that are not happy with the “200 years of the never ending fruits of corruption”.
UHRI is meeting stiff resistance from Liberian lawmakers as they have been pushing for a public hearing at the Liberian Legislature to expose their discovery of the origin of Liberian corruption and the roles of the United States Government and American Colonization Society (ACS).
In a statement he said: “Regardless who is running for office in the corrupt system, we call on all Liberians sick and tired of 173 years of corruption and who desire a better system of participatory democracy to refuse to vote, providing a lifeline of oxygen and fuel for the corrupt system of representative democracy designed to enrich and empower politicians.”
He continues: “By simply voting online for change (http://freeliberia.org) instead of perpetually voting for politicians in a corrupt system that has never worked for the people since 1847. Systemic change and the rebirth of our country will produce a new constitution that guarantees justice, security and equal opportunities for all Liberians. Your online vote for change would change Liberia in your lifetime.
“One by one, we call on unhappy and unsafe Liberian Voters to end their support for the broken and corrupt system of representative democracy by ‘online vote banking’ for change instead of voting for politicians-the lifeline that sustains Liberia’s corrupt system,” he urged.