Since 1991, the United States has provided safe haven for Liberians who were forced to flee their country as a result of armed conflict and widespread civil strife, in part through granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The armed conflict ended in 2003 and conditions improved such that TPS ended effective October 1, 2007. President Bush then deferred the enforced departure of the Liberians originally granted TPS. That grant of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) expires on March 31, 2009. I have determined that there are compelling foreign policy reasons to extend DED to those Liberians presently residing in the United States under the existing grant of DED.
Pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States, I have determined that it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to defer for 12 months the removal of any Liberian national, or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia, who is present in the United States and who is under a grant of DED as of March 31, 2009. The grant of DED only applies to an individual who has continuously resided in the United States since October 1, 2002, except for Liberian nationals, or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia:
- who are ineligible for TPS for the reasons provided in section 244(c)(2)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(2)(B);
- whose removal you determine is in the interest of the United States;
- whose presence or activities in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States;
- who have voluntarily returned to Liberia or his or her country of last habitual residence outside the United States;
- who were deported, excluded, or removed prior to the date of this memorandum; or
- who are subject to extradition.
Accordingly, I direct you to take the necessary steps to implement for eligible Liberians:
- A deferral of enforced departure from the United States for 12 months from March 31, 2009; and
- Authorization for employment for 12 months from March 31, 2009.