Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

USCIS Extends Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians

On March 19, 2010, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) automatically extended employment authorization for Liberian nationals covered under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) through September 30, 2010, following President Barack Obama’s announcement of his decision to extend DED through September 30, 2011, for qualified Liberians and those persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia. USCIS said that the sixth-month automatic extension of existing Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) will permit eligible Liberians to continue working while they file their applications for new EADs that will cover the full 12 months of the DED extension and for USCIS to complete processing and issuance of those new EADs.

Although DED was scheduled to end for Liberian nationals on March 31, 2010, President Obama determined that there are compelling foreign policy reasons to continue deferring enforced departure from the U.S. for eligible Liberian nationals presently living in the U.S. under the existing grant of DED for 18 additional months.

Certain individuals are ineligible for DED, USCIS noted, including Liberians who did not have temporary protected status (TPS) on September 30, 2007, and are therefore not covered under current DED; certain criminals; persons subject to the mandatory bars to TPS; and persons whose removal is in the interest of the U.S.

In addition to automatically extending the validity of employment authorization documents for Liberian nationals covered under DED, USCIS published a notice in the Federal Register on March 30, 2010, with instructions on how to obtain employment authorization for the remainder of the DED extension. The automatic extension covers EADs issued on Form I–766, Employment Authorization Document, bearing an expiration date of March 31, 2010. These EADs must also bear the notation “A–11” on the face of the card under “Category.”

Resources: USCIS Announcement, Federal Register notice concerning Work Authorization (PDF) and related Q&A.

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Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.