(KMSP) - An estimated 14,000 Liberians in Minnesota face an uncertain future.
Congressman Keith Ellison started showing his support for many in the Liberian community by pushing back against President Trump’s decision that will force Liberians to leave the U.S. in a year.
“I stay awake at night worrying about friends, whether they be from Mexico, Ecuador, Liberia or Somalia—the whole range—this truly is an immigrant community,” Ellison said.
He stood with members of Minnesota’s Liberian community at the Minneapolis Urban League and vowed to fight for them to stay in the United States.
“I call upon everyone in the Minnesota delegation to be part of the legislation that we’ve already written that would provide a citizenship path,” Ellison said.
Trump recently ended the Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) program. His decision will essentially give Liberians a year to leave the United States. Past administrations simply extended the deadlines.
Many Liberians fled to Minnesota, and other states, due to years of civil war and an Ebola outbreak.
“On a weekly basis, I stand in front of hundreds of Liberians and see uncertainty in their faces and fear of families being torn apart,” Ellison said.
Magdalene Menyongar has been living in Minnesota since 1994. Her husband died in a car accident. Now, as her daughter’s only living parent she worries about their uncertain future.
“My daughter is 16 years old, she’s in high school and I’m the only parents she has,” Menyongar said. “So it worries me because before you know it, March 31, 2019 will be here.”
The DED program could be extended again, which is why Congressman Ellison said he would start pushing for comprehensive immigration reform when he returns to Washington. The reform would give Liberians and other immigrants a permanent way to stay in the country.