From 1991 to 2007, Liberians in the United States were granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In 2007, President Bush ended TPS for Liberians and instead granted deferred enforced departure (DED) to those Liberians previously granted TPS. DED is a temporary immigration benefit that allows individuals from designated countries to remain in the United States with authorization to work. President Obama later extended the grant of DED to Liberians until March 31, 2018.
On March 31, 2018, President Trump terminated DED for Liberians and established a one-year transition period through March 31, 2019. That period was later extended through March 30, 2020, following Congress’ enactment of legislation. That legislation, with limited exceptions, made Liberians who have been continuously present in the United States since November 20, 2014, as well as their spouses and children, eligible for lawful permanent residence. Liberians were given until December 20, 2020, to apply for permanent residence. President Trump later extended the DED transition period through January 10, 2021. Because of difficulties in enacting this program, Congress enacted a one-year extension of the application period, until December 21, 2021.
On January 20, 2021, President Biden reinstated DED for Liberians and extended work authorization through June 30, 2022, for those present in the United States under a grant of DED as of January 10, 2021. President Biden also directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to take all steps necessary to provide those eligible with employment authorization. He also directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to review United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)’s application procedures to ensure that they “facilitate ease of application and timely adjudication.”