New York's Letitia James Joins Eight Attorneys General In Backing Suit By Liberians Opposing Trump's Termination of DED Status

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New York Attorney General James. Photo: Facebook
 
New York's Letitia James has joined a coalition of attorneys general from nine states and the District of Columbia, led by Minnesota's Keith Ellison and Massachusetts's Maura Healey, in supporting Liberians who have filed suit to block President Trump’s termination of their Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) status. 
 
DED allows foreign nationals whose countries have experienced armed conflict, civil unrest, natural disasters, or public health crises to stay in the country lawfully. Liberian nationals have been protected either by or DED or Temporary Protected Status at various times since 1991, following the outbreak of civil war in Liberia in 1989 that led to many Liberians fleeing to the U.S. for their safety and that of their families. Subsequent presidents have extended DED for Liberians. 
 
On March 27, 2018, President Trump issued a direction terminating DED protections for Liberians, effective Sunday, March 31, 2019. Starting on that date, Liberian immigrants who have been DED beneficiaries, some for more than two decades, may be subject to deportation.
 
“This is yet another backwards attempt by the Trump administration to terminate the lawful immigration status of long-term residents who came to America seeking safety,” James said. “These residents have contributed greatly to the economic and cultural fabric of New York and states throughout the country and deserve a pathway to citizenship, not to be put back into harm’s way. We stand together to support their right to remain in their home.”
 
A group of plaintiffs who are scheduled to lose DED protections because of President Trump’s directive filed suit on March 8, 2019 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. In ACT vs. Trump, they claim that President Trump’s change to DED policy for Liberians is unconstitutional because it was based on racial animus and national-origin discrimination, deprived DED beneficiaries of due process under the Constitution, and violates their constitutional rights to family integrity. They have filed a motion for the court to enjoin the Trump Administration from enforcing the President’s directive by removing Liberian immigrants who are DED beneficiaries. If granted, the injunction would prevent the administration from implementing the President’s directive, at least until the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights are fully adjudicated in federal court.
 
In their brief in support of the plaintiffs, the states argue that their economies and communities would be harmed by the deportation of Liberians, who are hardworking colleagues and civic-minded community members. The healthcare sectors in these states and the people who benefit from them would be particularly harmed, as many Liberians are valued healthcare workers. The amici states also argue that they have interest in protecting the welfare of children born to Liberian parents and raised in this country as U.S. citizens and in ensuring that these children continue to live in stable and loving homes with their parents.
 
James is joined in this action by the attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. 
 
 

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