PRESIDENT BARRACK OBAMA has suspended the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians that should have ended on September 30, 2016 to 18 months as of October 1, 2016.
THIS MEANS THAT AS of March 2018 Liberian beneficiaries or non-Liberians who “habitually” resided in Liberia before October 2002. The exceptions are for those Liberians who the Homeland Security would deem of the DED would be back home except for Liberians whose stay will have adverse effects on the United States foreign policy, whose removal will be in the interest of the United States and, among others, those who are subject to extradition.
THE DED IS MEANT for Liberians living in the United States on the Temporary Protective Status, which came into place in 1991 as a means of providing a sanctuary for Liberians who fled the country from the armed conflict of 2003–dubbed in Liberia the “World War I, II and III.” It came to an end in October 2007 but the departure date for beneficiaries was extended by former President George Bush before later being extended by President Obama up to September 30, 2016.
“I HAVE DETERMINED THAT there are compelling foreign policy reasons to again extend DED to those Liberians presently residing in the United States under the existing grant of DED,” President Obama said in a memorandum to the United States Homeland Security.
“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 18 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 September 30, 2011,” President Obama added.
“ACCORDINGLY, I DIRECT YOU to take the necessary steps to implement for eligible Liberians: (1) A deferral of enforced departure from the United States for 18 months from October 1, 2016; and (2) Authorization for employment for 18 months from October 1, 2016.”
THE MAGNANIMITY OF THE United States Government cannot be overemphasized, especially by those Liberians that are benefiting from the scheme. The American people came to the aid of Liberians at the time the Liberian people needed them most. They would continue their generosity during the dreaded Ebola epidemic basically in 2014 and 2015.
BUT THERE IS SOMETHING THAT is wrong with this whole anxious tendency by Liberians to designate their entire lives to living in America and other developed as well as, in some cases, underdeveloped countries. President Barrack Obama alone has deferred the departure of Liberians on two occasions across his administration. His reason is a justifiable one: in the interest of the United States foreign policy.
THAT IS THE POINT: THESE Liberians surviving on TPS and living at the mercy of DED are not in the best interest of the foreign policy of Liberia. Some may argue that the remittances they send home here are helping relatives and the economy in general, but that is certainly not the case. Technically speaking, their prolong stay in the United States is costing the country its progress and development. It is taking this whole handout mentality and jingoism to higher heights.
IT IS NOT A MERE COINCIDENCE that it was after the 1980 coup d’├ętat that Liberia actually started flocking to the United States. By then, the story was on political grounds–they were escaping the wrath of tyranny. But now, the story has changed: they are leaving for general better opportunities in a country probably the hardest place to live on the whole earth.
SO ADMITTEDLY, THEY HAVE A reason to leave Liberia, but not forever. Leaving one’s home and not wanting to return even though the sounds of guns have been silenced is the biggest of identity crisis with which no people will prosper. What our compatriots forget is that the more significantly the economy depends on the remittances or handouts, the deeper in sinks into an abyss of nothingness. What people are you when you run away for eternity from your own problems? Is it possible to escape from one’s own shadow?
WHAT THESE RUNAWAY LIBERIANS fail to realize is that their bodily input in the reconstruction of Liberia is more needed here than the highest amount of money they can send back home here. The fact is if they were vividly engaging in projects–factories and real estates for instance–they just visit intermittently and leave to start the cycle all over again.
THIS HAS TO STOP. LIBERIANS cannot make a home of a foreign land, even in this age of globalization. Globalization is an impressive blend of the national cultures and traditions. It involves people contributing what they learned from their homes to a global community. Globalization is not a selfish tendency of people seeking benefits at all levels. This is a cacophony of the subject.
IT IS TOTALLY UNPATRIOTIC AND unnationalistic that after more than a decade Liberians who still have unfinished projects, especially on the back of a program that was meant to have given them a sanctuary from the civil war that ravaged their country. How long do they want?
IT IS OUR PLEA THAT OUR LIBERIAN brothers and sisters come home, if not now after the 2018 expiry of the DED. Their contribution to postwar Liberia is most needed. We believe when they come home with their expertise, things will move a little faster, and they will be a credible voice in the national discourse.