Last week, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representative Keith Ellison (D-5-MN) introduced the Liberian

Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 2011, a bill that would allow Liberian migrants who were welcomed to the United States 20 years ago to become permanent members of our communities.

Since 1989, the United States has provided safe haven to thousands of Liberians who were forced to flee as a result of Liberia’s devastating civil war. Since their arrival more than 20 years ago, these Liberians have started families, established careers, paid taxes, and have become valuable members of communities across the United States.

On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed a memo extending Deferred Enforced Departure to Liberian nationals through September 30, 2011. The extension provides these Liberians with temporary work authorization, but it does not provide them with a new pathway to obtain a green card. If President Obama or Congress do not act, an estimated 3,600 Liberians will be forced to return to Liberia. Moreover, parents will have to make the difficult decision of leaving their children behind or bringing them to an unstable country that is still recovering from a civil war.

We need your help to keep these families together and to allow our Liberian friends and neighbors to remain permanently in the United States. Visit the LIRS Action Centerand urge your members of Congress to support Liberians who have been living, working and raising families in the United States for over 20 years.

In peace,

Bishop mike Rinehart on behalf of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Learn more about LIRS online at

National Headquarters
700 Light Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, 410-230-2700, lirs

Advocacy Office
122 C Street NW, Suite 125, Washington, D.C. 20001, 202-783-7509, dc