Immigrants in Pennsylvania who came to the U.S. from Liberia through the Deferred Enforced Departure Program may now have a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship. The immigrants largely arrived between 1989 and 2003, fleeing civil war in Liberia. This country has also suffered from an Ebola outbreak.

Green cards as the first step to naturalization

Many were granted Temporary Protected Status as well, but the program was ended in 2017. The DED program was also supposed to come to an end, but it was extended until March 2020. On December 26, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it would start taking green card applications from Liberians. After five years with a green card, they will be eligible for citizenship. Spouses and unmarried children are also eligible.

In the country’s best interests

The change was originally proposed as a bill by two senators. According to one, it was not in the best interests of the United States to return the Liberian immigrants to a country many of them no longer knew, uprooting them from their homes and lives. The bill was then folded into the National Defense Authorization Act. There are about 4,000 Liberians in the country who have DED status and who could be affected by the provision.

Legal help with immigration matters

Immigration can be complex whether you are applying for citizenship under this provision or seeking to remain in the country temporarily or permanently under another regulation. As this situation demonstrates, regulations may also change rapidly. It is important to provide accurate and up-to-date information throughout the immigration process and respond to any further inquiries. An attorney might be able to assist you in preparing the paperwork and documentation necessary for a green card, a temporary work or study visa, or naturalization.