MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Trump administration has extended the deferred enforcement departure (DED) deadline for Liberians in the U.S. for another year.

On Thursday, the White House announced that “it is in the foreign policy interest” of the country to extend the DED wind-down period for another 12 months, through March 30, 2020.

The initial wind-down period was set to expire Sunday, potentially leaving hundreds of Liberians in Minnesota without legal status.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar released a statement following the announcement.

“Minnesota is home to one of the largest Liberian populations in the country, and Liberians across the country serve as business owners, teachers, and health care workers and are an incredibly important part of our workforce,” she said. “They have worked hard, played by the rules, and submitted to rigorous vetting, and for over a decade, presidents from both parties have extended their protected status. While today’s extension of Deferred Enforced Departure is good news, it is now time for Congress to remove this source of uncertainty and take up legislation to provide permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship.”

Last year, President Donald Trump moved to end the DED program, which has allowed immigrants from Liberia to live and work in the U.S. as a way to escape war and other disasters in the country. The president has argued that since conditions have improved in Liberia, the program can end.

Minnesota has an estimated 16,000 residents of Liberian descent, one of the largest Liberian populations in the country. Estimates vary as to how many Liberians in Minnesota are protected by DED, but it could range into the thousands.

Comments