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Paulsen, Minnesota Delegation Continues Fight for Liberian DED Protection

Washington, D.C.– Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03) today joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and other members of the Minnesota delegation to urge the President to extend Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) protections for Liberians, currently scheduled to expire at the end of March.

“Our state of Minnesota has one of the largest Liberian populations in the country. Many of them have been in our state for decades, and they are an important part of our communities, where they serve as business owners, teachers, and health care workers. It is for this reason that we ask you to extend the DED protections for Liberians now in effect before they expire at the end of this month,”the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers’ letter was also signed by Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Congressmen Keith Ellison (MN-05), Tim Walz (MN-01), Rick Nolan (MN-08), Betty McCollum (MN-04), and Collin Peterson (MN-07). The full text of the letter is below.

Congressman Paulsen also met today with leaders of Minnesota’s Liberian community at his Washington, D.C. office to reiterate his support for Minnesota’s Liberian population. A brief video of the meeting can be viewed here. Among the meeting’s participants was Pastor Moses Punni of Exalted Praise Ministries in Minnesota.

“I am directly impacted by this issue…I am soon to be detached from my fifteen year old child,”said Pastor Moses. “I ask the leadership of this country, including President Donald Trump, to look at this from a seat of mercy. I’ve been in this country almost two decades. Please, save our community. In our community, almost every adult affected has children. It’s about our children. That’s why we’re making this appeal.”

“The lives and wellbeing of the Liberians living in our own community are at stake, and this is too important to let politics get in the way,”Congressman Paulsen said. “I’m grateful to the representatives of our Liberian community for coming to Washington to make their case directly to my fellow lawmakers and I will continue working across the aisle in urging the Administration to take action.”

Paulsen is also a co-sponsor of the bipartisan Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 2018, which enables Liberians who have been living here temporarily to apply for permanent residency.

Here is the full text of the lawmakers’ letter:

 

Dear President Trump:

We write to ask that you extend Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) status for Liberians, which is now scheduled to expire on March 31, 2018.

Liberians have had protected status in the United States since President George H.W. Bush first approved Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Liberia in response to its civil war in 1991. That status was extended under presidents from both parties until it expired in 2007, at which time President George W. Bush granted DED protections to Liberians. Since 2007, DED has been extended six times, allowing recipients to remain in the United States legally and receive work authorization.

Our state of Minnesota has one of the largest Liberian populations in the country. Many ofthem have been in our state for decades, and they are an important part of our communities, where they serve as business owners, teachers, and health care workers. It is for this reason that we ask you to extend the DED protections for Liberians now in effect before they expire at the end of this month.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this important issue.

Sincerely,

Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03) meets with leaders of Minnesota’s Liberian community in his Washington, D.C. office on March 14, 2018

Congressman Paulsen, a champion of small business and advocate of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation, serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, chairs the bicameral Joint Economic Committee, and is co-chair of the Congressional Medical Technology Caucus.

 

For more information on Congressman Paulsen’s work in Congress visit paulsen.house.gov