MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thousands of Liberians living in Minnesota hope they can convince the government to let them stay in the country.
A program that grants Liberian immigrants temporary protected status expires at the end of March.
More than 100 people rallied at the State Capitol Friday afternoon, filling the rotunda for a common cause.
“What affects our community affects all of us,” said Abdullah Kiatamba with African Immigrant Services.
Liberians and supporters want President Donald Trump to extend Deferred Enforced Departure, or DED. It affects about 4,000 Liberians living in Minnesota who arrived under the temporary protected status.
“You cannot live in a place for 20 years and not consider that place as your home. This is my home now. I don’t have any other home. My daughter was born here,” Magdalene Menyonga said.
The youngest in the crowd shared her hopes.
“Please let my mom and dad stay with me in the United States,” said a young girl.
And politicians lent their support.
“This problem will be solved by all of us combining with all of our neighbors, lifting our voices and demanding that the president extended DED,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said.
Congressman Dean Phillips committed to telling the president how important this issue is to him and Minnesota.
“We are going to do this. We are going to do this and we are going to do this because it’s the right thing to do the humane thing to do,” Phillips said.
Meanwhile, many say they are living in limbo, waiting to learn what their future holds.
“Now that we have built our homes, built our lives after so many years, we are told that we should go back to the same situation that has not improved,” said another woman.
Some members of the community will travel to Washington D.C. next month. They want a two-year extension so the program could be included as part of a larger immigration bill.