Biden Shields Another Illegal Alien Population from Deportation
On June 27, President Joe Biden announced that he would be extending Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for illegal alien Liberians in the United States, including those who did not qualify for the legislative amnesty Congress passed, known as Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (LRIF).
Similar to Temporary Protected Status (TPS), DED provides aliens on expiring visas and illegal aliens temporary protection from removal if their home country is experiencing an armed conflict, a natural disaster, or extraordinary circumstances that prevent their safe return.
However, unlike TPS, DED has no statutory basis in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). As explained by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the president has the authority to designate DED “to conduct foreign relations.” In contrast, Section 244 of the INA permits the Department of Homeland Security secretary to designate TPS to select countries.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush granted TPS to more than 10,000 Liberian nationals after a civil war erupted in the West African nation. After a second civil war erupted in Liberia in 1999, the Clinton administration authorized DED for Liberians after their TPS designation expired. Subsequently, during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, renewals for TPS and DED designations were doled out, citing reasons unrelated to the qualifying criteria for these programs.
In 2014, DHS under the Obama administration renewed TPS for Liberian nationals after the Ebola virus broke out in West Africa, attributing concerns of the epidemic occurring in their homeland. After the virus was contained and the TPS designation was approaching its termination, President Obama approved DED for Liberians, vaguely citing “compelling foreign policy reasons.”
In March of 2018, President Trump terminated DED for Liberians but allowed for a one-year wind-down, which he then extended for another year. During that time, LRIF was added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2020, giving this population amnesty when the NDAA was signed into law.
On President Biden’s first day in office, he reinstated DED to Liberia, referencing “foreign policy interests” as justification for the reinstatement.
President Biden’s recent memorandum does not mention if the Liberian government cannot properly accept the return of its citizens or if these nationals would be in danger if they were sent back to their home country. With armed conflicts, epidemics, or other life-threatening events no longer occurring in Liberia, why is the president shielding these individuals from repatriation?
This new DED designation from the president will provide amnesty-lite to Liberians who did not qualify for the LRIF and those whose LRIF amnesty applications were denied.
Yet again, the Biden administration is working overtime to allow as many immigration lawbreakers to remain in the U.S. as possible by expanding programs that protect them from removal. As previous TPS and DED designations have demonstrated, once a “soft amnesty” is unveiled, illegal immigration to the United States worsens.
Unless the federal government starts enforcing its mandate to deport TPS and DED holders once their homelands can accept their return instead of renewing these programs in perpetuity, our nation can expect the illegal alien population to swell.