Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison once again led a coalition of states in moving to protect Liberians who are beneficiaries of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) from deportation.
Ellison and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey co-led a coalition of 14 states in filing an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs-appellants in African Communities Together v. Trump, who have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to reverse the federal district court’s dismissal of their lawsuit.
This is the third time this year Ellison has co-led an amicus brief in supporting Liberians with DED against President Trump’s attempt to terminate their status.
“Every Minnesotan deserves to live with dignity and respect, and every Minnesota community thrives when our Liberian neighbors, co-workers, caregivers, and friends thrive. Liberians are woven into the fabric of every community in our state. As long as the Trump Administration keeps trying to deport Liberians from their longtime homes in Minnesota, I’ll keep fighting for them,” Ellison said.
As DED-holders, Liberians are not subject to immigration detention and removal and can legally reside and work in the United States. Many have lived in Minnesota for decades, building families, participating in the workforce, and contributing to their communities. Ellison and the coalition argue that the Trump Administration’s attempt to terminate DED for these long-term residents of the United States would force them to return to dangerous conditions in Liberia.
The Minnesota Attorney General also argues that terminating DED for Liberians would harm Minnesota by putting at risk the welfare of thousands of children born to Liberian parents but raised in the United States. In addition, he argues that Minnesota’s economy and communities would be harmed if DED were terminated. This is particularly true in the areas of health care and social assistance where many Liberians care for Minnesotans every day.
Background on DED
DED is an immigration program authorized by the president that allows foreign nationals whose countries have experienced armed conflict, civil unrest, natural disasters, or public health crises to stay in the country lawfully. Liberian nationals have been protected by either DED or Temporary Protected Status since 1991, and continuously by DED since 2007, following the outbreak of civil war in Liberia in 1989 that led to many Liberians fleeing for safety to the United States. Liberia also suffered the largest outbreak in history of the Ebola virus. Some Liberian immigrants have been beneficiaries of DED for more than two decades. Until now, all presidents have extended DED for Liberians.
In the amicus brief filed in support of the plaintiff-appellants’ appeal of the dismissal of the suit, Ellison and the coalition argue that the district court erred in dismissing it because the court could have enjoined the Secretary of Homeland Security from implementing the President’s directive. Indeed, the president’s directive explicitly stated, “I hereby direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to take appropriate measures to accomplish … [t]he termination of DED for all Liberian beneficiaries effective March 31, 2020.”
Joining Ellison and Massachusetts Attorney General Healey in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.