U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced in August 2011 its intention to automatically extend employment authorization for Liberian nationals covered under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) through March 31, 2012. USCIS’s announcement follows President Obama’s announcement of his decision to extend DED through March 31, 2013, for qualified Liberians and those persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia. The six-month automatic extension of existing Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) will permit eligible Liberians to continue working while they file their applications for new EADs. The new EADs will cover the full 18 months of the DED extension.
Although DED was scheduled to end for Liberian nationals on Sept. 30, 2011, there are compelling foreign policy reasons to continue deferring enforced departure from the United States for eligible Liberian nationals presently living in the United States under the existing grant of DED for 18 additional months.
Certain individuals are not eligible for DED, including:
• Liberians who did not have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) on Sept. 30, 2007 and are therefore not covered under current DED;
• Certain criminals (e.g. aggravated felons and persons convicted of two misdemeanors);
• Persons subject to the mandatory bars to TPS; and
• Other ineligible persons as described in the President’s memorandum.
In addition to automatically extending the validity of EADs for Liberian nationals covered under DED, USCIS will publish a notice in the Federal Register with instructions for these individuals on how to obtain employment authorization for the remainder of the DED extension. Liberian nationals covered under DED will also need to include the Application for Employment Authorization, I-765, and a filing fee of $380, or a fee waiver request.