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Immigration and naturalization: Good news for Liberians

In New Jersey and elsewhere, many immigrants are of Liberian ethnicity. In the past, such people have been ineligible for certain immigration and naturalization programs. While many of them have been living and working in the United States for a long time, they have only been able to do so under Deferred Enforced Deportation statuses.

The DED policy has been subject to much controversy. Many immigrants say they have been worried that the president was going to cancel the program, thus leaving them at risk for removal. However, a provision in a bill that was recently passed allows Liberians to apply for permanent residency in the United States.

A 29-year-old Ph.D. student said she can hardly believe it is real. She also stated that she is jubilant yet cautious, and she will feel more secure when she is allowed to possess a five-year driver's license and obtain a U.S. passport. Other people have expressed mixed emotions as well, saying they are overjoyed that a pathway toward citizenship appears to be clearing; yet, they worry that something will happen to cause legal problems for them.

Many of these people have children who are U.S. citizens. In fact, some immigrants own their own homes and businesses in New Jersey and beyond. Up to now, they have been living in the U.S. on a year-to-year basis, filing for extension after extension with no hope of permanent residency. Approximately 4,000 or more people can now hope for more permanent futures in the United States. Connecting with an immigration and naturalization law attorney is a wise thing to do for those who hope to transition from a DED status to green card holders.

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