On Friday, March 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released guidance on employment authorization for individuals with Deferred Enforcement Departure from Liberia. According to the guidance, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has automatically extended the validity of employment authorization documents (EAD or work permits) through the end of the extension period of September 30, 2018.
What is Deferred Enforcement Departure?
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is in the president’s discretion to authorize as part of his power to conduct foreign relations. Although DED is not a specific immigration status, individuals covered by DED are not subject to removal from the United States, usually for a designated period of time.
In 2007, President George W. Bush directed that DED be provided for 18 months to certain Liberians in the United States whose Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was expiring on Sept. 30, 2007. President Bush further directed Homeland Security to issue procedures for granting work authorization to DED-covered Liberians. DED has continued to be extended for Liberians since that initial period and was set to expire on March 31, 2018.
On March 27, 2018, President Trump, after consulting relevant executive branch agencies, issued a memorandum directing Secretary Nielsen to begin a 12-month DED wind-down period and to provide for continued work authorization throughout the wind-down period. This 12-month transitional period of DED allows affected individuals to arrange for their departure from the United States, or seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible, before DED ends on March 31, 2019.
How will this affect employment for Liberians in the United States?
- For Employers: If your employee has an EAD with an original expiration date of March 31, 2018 and containing the category code "A-11," this EAD is automatically extended and the employee may continue to work without a new one (and without a receipt notice) through the end of the automatic extension period, September 30, 2018.
- For Employees: Current Liberia DED-related EADs bearing a March 31, 2018, expiration date and an A-11 category will be automatically extended for 6 months until Sept. 30, 2018. Read the Whitehouse memo regarding the DED termination to know how this affects you. If you are an employee with questions or concerns about the automatic EAD extension, you may contact the Office of Special Council Employee Hotline at 800-255-7688. If you are covered under DED for Liberia and you want evidence of your employment authorization during the 12-month transitional period, you may apply for an Employment Authorization Document beginning March 30, 2018.
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