Twin Cities Liberians rally to stay in U.S.

Magdalene Menyongar fights away tears during a press conference.
Magdalene Menyongar fights away tears during a press conference with Sen. Amy Klobuchar as they discuss the anxiety Liberians are feeling as the deadline for the Deferred Enforced Departure program looms.
Riham Feshir | MPR News

Twin Cities Liberians are holding a rally at the state Capitol Monday to call for the extension of a program that gives thousands of Liberians legal status in the U.S.

The Deferred Enforced Departure or DED program expires on March 31.

Five thousand people nationally are protected from deportation under the DED program.

Rally organizer Abdullah Kiatamba says many of them are part of Minnesota's large Liberian community.

"We just want to call a rally to show where our community stands on the plight of our brothers and sisters that will be negatively impacted," he said. "We just want to make a public case. We've engaged lawmakers. We just feel that it was important."

Liberians in the DED program have had protected status since 1991. The protections took effect amid the country's first civil war.

The President of the United States has sole authority to extend the DED program.

Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama did so.

The Minnesota Congressional delegation has called on President Trump to renew the program. But it's unclear which way the president is leaning.

Organizers are expecting more than a thousand people to attend the rally.

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