liberian immigrants could face their last year in america
May 15, 2019
Trump has told more lies than he has changed underwear since he took office and the sheer absurdity of it all often eclipses dangerous ramifications that are being faced by people like the Liberian immigrants who fled both Liberian Civil Wars (80s and 2000s) to come to the United States. The Liberian-American community that formed in Minnesota after they arrived in the US lived and worked in America under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) immigration status which protected them from deportation, was supposed to expire March of this year but the deadline was extended to March 20th, 2020 in a last-minute announcement by 45, according to Reuters.
Famatta Zeon is a Liberian organizer with DED status who has worked tirelessly to lobby the government and raise awareness towards the dire circumstances of the Liberian immigrant community. “There are some families who have been here 23, 25 years on this status,” she said. “We’ve worked here, we’ve paid our taxes, we have homes here. We don’t want our children to be put in the system here. We have tried our honest best to work here and not be dependent on the system.” The Trump media machine continues to paint immigrant communities as dangerous loafers when they pay taxes, obey the law and contribute to society in meaningful ways.
This community now has to face the reality of leaving the lives they’ve spent decades building and more than that, they have to deal with what that will mean for their survival and the survival of their dependents stateside and in Liberia. In a photo essay by Reuters, Liberian immigrants like Marie Zar, a 52-year-old nurse assistant and translator who has lived and worked in the US for almost two decades and losing DED status will mean losing a crucial source of income. Zar’s money supports nearly two-dozen family members in Liberia. “My nieces are going to school from the money I make here,” Zar said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re not sure what’s going to happen to us.”
Unfortunately for the state of affairs, the only saving grace is… Trump. “He’s the only one that can put that gavel down,” Zeon said. “Give us … a clear pathway to citizenship. We’re taxpayers, we’re not problems.” The Liberian immigrants of Minnesota are but one group of many that will suffer the Right’s attempts to keep the population majority white. Immigrants don’t lean towards the right so 45 and crew implement ruthless means to send them back, often into danger.
The cruelty is the point, especially when it comes to Black and Brown migrants. These are the disenfranchised groups that suffer when Democratic elites decide that waiting out Trump would be a better tactic than impeaching that Russian troll doll. Famatta, Marie and their community don’t have until November and the hellish purgatory they have to live through, wondering whether they will be saved, is not worth anything Nancy Pelosi has in mind. Thank goodness we have a new class of Democrats like Rashida Tlaib who, on behalf of the Democrats (and anyone with sense) has delivered 10 million signatures asking for Trump’s impeachment. This attempt needs to stick because if anyone should be leaving, it’s him.
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