Urgent Action! Call Congress to Urge Extension of Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians
12/18/2008 11:32 AM
Call Congress Today to Urge Continued Liberian Deferred Enforced Departure
Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) have circulated letters to Members of the House of Representatives calling upon President Bush and President-Elect Obama to extend Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to Liberians. The current DED period ends March 31, 2009.
Please call your Representative today to urge them to add their signature to the letters to President Bush and President-Elect Obama. If they have signed the letters, call to thank them for their support. The letters are circulating right now, so your calls are needed immediately!
Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your member of the House of Representatives.
Learn more about the Liberian immigration issue at the Legislative Updates section of www.energyofanation.org.
Why Liberian DED Should Be Extended:
Liberians living in the United States left one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history. Horrific human rights abuses, including mass executions, torture, dismemberment, rape, looting, banditry, and the widespread use of child combatants, traumatized the Liberian population and left the country's infrastructure in ruin.
Since the end of the conflict, Liberia has achieved a fragile stability. However, more than 85 percent of its remaining population is unemployed. Nearly the entire country lives in Monrovia, the capital, which has virtually no infrastructure-power, clean water, habitable buildings. The average life expectancy is under 42 years.
The Department of Homeland Security estimates that over 3,600 individuals currently are registered for DED. Liberians residing in the U.S. have been a source of assistance to Liberia, sending money that helps stimulate Liberia's weak economy. This source of support would be severely diminished if Liberians are forced to leave the U.S.
Liberians who sought protection in the U.S. painstakingly rebuilt their lives. They raised families here, including both U.S.-born and Liberian-born children. Forcing their return will tear families apart. Liberians contribute to our local and state economies. In metro areas with large Liberian communities, the deportation of Liberians will harm sectors of the economy, such as long-term healthcare, that employ large numbers of Liberians. In towns that are home to Liberians, entire neighborhoods will be affected by people leaving their homes and businesses behind.
When civil war erupted in Liberia in 1989, forcing hundreds of thousands of Liberians to flee, many looked to the United States for peace and safety. The United States has extended protection to Liberians since 1990. That protection is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2009.
How to Call Congress:
Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative's office.
Calls are usually taken by a staff member. Ask to speak with the person who handles immigration issues.
Identify yourself and tell the person you would like to leave a brief message, such as: "I support the immediate extension of Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians. I urge Representative (Name) to sign the letter to President Bush and President-Elect Obama urging the extension of DED."
Give reasons for your support of the issue. Ask for your representative's position on the letter. You may also request a written response to your telephone call if you wish.