Monrovia, Liberia (PANA) - The United States of America has deported a number of Liberians on multiple charges, an official of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) revealed here Wednesday.
The charges range from aggravated assault, car hijacking, assaulting a police officer, driving under the influence of alcohol, sexual assault and burglary.
LIS spokesman Col. Abraham Dolley said the first batch of deportees arrived in the country on November 13 via the Roberts International Airport. They comprised seven persons, he said, adding that the second batch was expected on December 11, 2019.
Dolley said the LIS had no confirmation on the exact number of Liberians affected by the latest deportation exercise but explained that they would not immediately leave the premises of the LIS upon arrival until they had gone through profiling to get the required information.
After this exercise, he said, legal family members would be allowed to sign for and take custody of their relations after undergoing counselling to ensure their smooth reintegration into the society.
From time to time for over decades, the American government has been deporting Liberians mainly engaged in criminal activities in that country.
But the most dreaded deportation is the looming Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) which rests with the US president's discretion to authorize as part of his constitutional power to conduct foreign relations.
Extended by the Trump administration in mid 2019, the current DED is expected to expire on March 30, 2020.
Many Liberians have benefited from this presidential privilege since 1990 when the civil war broke out in the West African nation, starting with the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) that metamorphosed into the DED.
While this is not a specific immigration status, individuals covered by TPS and later DED are not subject to removal from the United States, usually for a designated period of time.
Exact figures of the number of Liberians enjoying this privilege are hard to come by but general estimates say between 250,000 and 500,000 Liberians are living in the United States, a sizable number as legal residents or ‘Green Card’ holders.
With the newest deportations, returnees are looked down upon as failures and a disgrace to their families by the community for having gone to the “land of milk and honey” and returned home with nothing to brag about.
-0- PANA PTK/RA 13Nov2019