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: Minnesota Weather: Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued For Parts Of Minnesota, Wisconsin
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.Police Report Rash Of Car Thefts Across West Twin Cities Metro Area
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: 'Pure Mask Sweatiness': Students Face Masking Up Again For In-Person Learning
Many Liberian Minnesotans were granted DED status in 1999 in response to the Liberian Civil War.