President Donald Trump has extended the wind-down period for termination of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status for beneficiaries from Liberia from March 31, 2019, to March 30, 2020.

DED, like Temporary Protected Status (TPS), allows individuals from certain nations to remain in the United States, despite being otherwise removable, because of civil or political strife or conflict in their native countries. Liberia is currently the only country covered under DED and the Administration had decided to terminate Liberia’s DED as of March 31, 2019.

In response to this termination decision, a lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts federal court challenging the government’s actions, claiming the decision was discriminatory and violated the beneficiaries’ rights to due process. The plaintiffs sought emergency injunctive relief. On March 25, 2019, the government filed a brief opposing that request. Then, on March 28, 2019, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum reversing course. “Upon further reflection and review, I have decided that it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to extend the wind-down period for an additional 12 months, through March 30, 2020 . . . .”

Liberian DED beneficiaries, if they meet all eligibility requirements, will be able to remain in the United States until March 30, 2020, and will be able to maintain work authorization. The President also noted that the extension will give the Congress time to pursue remedial legislation.

The plaintiffs reportedly plan to continue to pursue their lawsuit, but not their motion for emergency relief.

According to USCIS, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will publish a notice in the Federal Register with information regarding the extension of DED status and the extension of work authorization.

For additional guidance, please contact Jackson Lewis.