Liberians formerly on temporary residency status in the United States have received a third reprieve from deportation.
In a memorandum on Friday, President Barack Obama said there are "compelling foreign policy reasons" to delay Liberians' enforced departure again for 18 months. About a thousand Liberians in Minnesota would have had to leave after March 31.
While the announcement was welcome news, Wayne Doe, executive director of the Brooklyn Park-based Organization of Liberians in Minnesota, said it is stressful to live from deferment to deferment.
"We just want to know when this is going to end," Doe said. "It's heart-breaking, definitely, when you're in that position and you don't know what's going to happen ... It causes all kinds of tension -- from family, from work, from everything that you do."
The news caused some disappointment, Doe said, because they were "hoping that it actually turns into the permanent residency status for Liberians, but it didn't. But it's an extension for another year, so that gives us more work to do to advocate and ensure that Liberians will permanent residency status."
In the 1990s Liberian refugees fleeing a civil war were granted temporary protected status in the U.S., and about a thousand settled in Minnesota.
American officials decided conditions had improved in Liberia and ended the temporary status in 2007. President George W. Bush issued an order deferring their enforced departure, and Obama extended that deferral to March 31, 2013. In his presidential memorandum on Friday, Obama said there are "compelling foreign policy reasons" to delay Liberians' enforced departure again for 18 months.