Ebola scare over, Liberian immigrants lose right to stay in U.S.

By Michael Matza, Staff Writer/Philly.com

Tenneh Harris (center), who has temporary protected status, could face deportation. She was with Voffee Jabateh (left) and Frances Doe last week at the offices of the service agency ARCANA.
Camera icon JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer

Four years ago, Tenneh Harris, a divorced midwife from Liberia, came to the United States on a 90-day visitor visa but never returned to her West African home. Of America’s estimated 11.2 million immigrants who are here illegally, 40 percent become undocumented in the same way, by overstaying visas.

Harris, however, had one thing on her side: the Ebola contagion.

The 2014-2015 epidemic that ravaged Liberia made her eligible for a humanitarian program of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which deferred her deportation and gave her permission to work. After paying the $515 application fee, she obtained Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Presto, she was documented again.

Since then, Ebola in West Africa has abated. Now, Liberians like Harris are being told they must leave the U.S. by May 21 – the day their work permits expire, and they become undocumented again.

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Source: Philly.com

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About Cholo Brooks 13201 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.