“We Want To Go Home But”, Diaspora Liberians Say They Are Irresolute

FLASH BACK: Liberian Groups Rally at the State Capitol

“The news we are getting back home regarding the current economic situation is not good for some of us who are anxious to return home; I am seriously scare of the future of our country, Liberia,” Nathaniel Slepoe, Jr., a resident of  Staten Island, New York speaking to the GNN in a frustrated state of mind stressed.

Like Nathaniel, dozens of other Liberians residing in the United States who spoke to the GNN expressed similar concern, with many of them calling on the youthful of President of Liberia, George M. Weah to see reason in seeking the advice of professional Liberians be it back home or abroad to help in reshaping the national economy in a right trajectory in order for the country to regain its lost image.

“As much we appreciate Mr. Weah for been popularly elected as our President, he still needs to be tutored in governance structure, as many of those who are with him and placed in key positions are not helping him at all, The President must think fast if he is to succeed,” Jacklyn Freeman, a mother of six and residing in Philadelphia since the outbreak of the Liberian civil war in 1989, speaking to the GNN said.

For John Nagbe, III, who came to the United States at the age of 26, now 56 said his returning to Liberia at this time will not be possible, adding, “I sent money home all of the time to my family in order to keep them up, in fact I have built five houses, but the kind of news I am hearing is not encouraging for me to return home,” Nagbe speaking to the GNN added.

Between 250,000 to 500,000 Liberians are living in the United States, many of whom are being relied on back home by their family members and friends for daily survival; with this number, many of them have been here without real status, while others are making headway in major sectors of the American society.

An estimated 4,000 number of Liberians are in the US through Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), a temporary status determined by the President of the United States. In 1991, thousands of Liberians fled their country’s bloody and senseless civil war in Liberia and were granted either Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or DED, both of which gave them the opportunity for work permit but not a path to citizenship.

The Trump administration over the past years has been facing mounting pressure from the country’s lawmakers, human rights activists and civil rights lawyers to extend deportation protections for thousands of Liberians who may become undocumented immigrants within a week.

President Donald Trump announced in March 2018 that hundreds of Liberians who had been legally living and working in the U.S. for more than two decades would have their status revoked and would no longer be protected from deportation.

Through a presidential memorandum, the president gave them one year to settle their affairs, but now he’s facing pressure to save that group before their status expires.

Democrats in Congress have sent letters to Trump to extend the Deferred Enforced Departure program, or DED, for the Liberians, arguing that conditions in their home country remain dangerous and that they’ve become contributing members of their U.S. communities.

With these unforeseen circumstance being faced with Liberians in the Americas, lots of them are still contemplating on returning home, but are on what many they called ‘Wait and see’, a situation described as terrible for the ordinary Liberians residing in that part of the world.

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About Cholo Brooks 12532 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.