MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — United States Senator Tina Smith tells WCCO there has been a major breakthrough that will provide permanent status to thousands of Liberians in Minnesota and across the United States.
The Defense Authorization Act — which would keep those Liberians here — passed Thursday in the U.S. House. The U.S. Senate is expected to do the same on Monday, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it.READ MORE: How Are Wild Turkeys Able To Thrive In The Twin Cities?
Last March, just days before a deportation deadline for Liberians with deferred enforcement departure status, or DED, they were given a one-year extension that allowed them to stay in the country. That deadline is set to expire in early 2020.Minnesota To Offer Gift Cards, Scholarship Drawings As Vaccination Incentives For Kids
Smith says the bill provides a path to citizenship in five years.
“This is really good news,” Smith said. ‘We have been working really hard to get to this point.”MORE NEWS: Father Of 2's Dying Wish Sets Up Future Cancer Patients' Families With Healing Flats
Many Liberian Minnesotans were granted DED status in 1999 in response to the Liberian Civil War.