Liberians and TPS status
Liberia, “land of the free,” was founded by free African-Americans and freed slaves from the United States in 1820. An initial group of 86 immigrants, who came to be called Americo-Liberians, established a settlement in Christopolis (now Monrovia, named after U.S. President James Monroe) on February 6, 1820.
Thousands of freed American slaves and free African-Americans arrived during the following years, leading to the formation of more settlements and culminating in a declaration of independence of the Republic of Liberia on July 26, 1847.
From 1989 to 1996 one of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars ensued, claiming the lives of more than 200,000 Liberians and displacing a million others into refugee camps in neighboring countries.
from Dept. of State Background Notes – Liberia
A group of Liberians have been living in the United States as temporary residents. Their status is classified as “Deferred Enforced Departure” (DED). Previously, they and thousands of other Liberians had been given “Temporary Protective Status (TPS)” to live in the United States because of the civil war in Liberia that began in 1989. As the temporary status was nearing its termination, Liberians in the United States were concerned that Liberia has yet to recover from two decades of strife and should not be considered safe for people to return to.
In September of 2007, President George W. Bush directed the secretary of Homeland Security to take this into consideration and defer enforced deportation for 18 months — until March 31, 2009.
from MinnPost 2/16/10
This deferment was extended again by President Barack Obama. He signed an executive order allowing roughly 3,600 Liberians living in the United States under temporary protected status to stay in the country for an additional 12 months. [until March 31, 2010]
Kerper Dwanyen, the president of the Organization of Liberians in Minnesota, said the 3,600 who have temporary protected status might seem small, but it represents a disproportionate number of people who are primary providers for their families in both countries. Many have been in the United States as long as 15 years, he said. People under this designation have the same avenues to citizenship as other immigrants. But if the status ends before the immigration process is complete, returning to their home country is usually the only legal option.
from MPR NewsQ 3/20/2009
StarTribue.com has a good series of stories on the life of Liberians in Minnesota. The video segments show both snapshots of their current life in Minnesota and footage of current conditions in Monrovia.
Liberians: An Introduction on History and Culture (from the Cultural Orientation Center)
Liberian Ministers Association
Since its formation, LMA has been an integral part of the Liberian community in the Twin Cities. It has been involved primarily in promoting unity amongst the pastors and the Liberian community as large, praying for churches, pastors and their families, conducting revival meetings and crusades, hosting and or facilitating seminars on biblical and social issues in the Liberian community, helping in mentoring younger pastors and being involved in conflict resolutions within the community.