Liberians Employ Unique Logic to Prevent Termination of Deferred Enforced Departure

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), similar to Temporary Protected Status (TPS), allows foreign nationals to remain in the United States temporarily due to extenuating circumstances in their homelands. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, DED “is in the president’s discretion to authorize as part of his power to conduct foreign relations.”

Exercising his executive discretion, President George H.W. Bush initially granted DED to citizens of Liberia who were in the United States on some sort of temporary visa. And, exercising his executive discretion, President Donald Trump has decided to terminate DED status for Liberians, thereby requiring some 4,000 beneficiaries to return home when it expires at the end of this month.

Pretty simple and straightforward: Receiving and maintaining DED status is at the discretion of whatever president occupies the Oval Office. Or, maybe not. Like TPS, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an extra-legal program that President Obama made clear could be terminated by some future president, President Trump’s decision to end DED for Liberians is the subject of a lawsuit.

Aside from the usual arguments offered whenever a “temporary” status is revoked – “They’ve been here so long,” etc. – the advocacy groups representing Liberian DED beneficiaries have come up with a unique argument for why the Trump administration cannot end the program. “The Trump administration’s decision to terminate Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberian immigrants was the direct result of intentional discrimination directed at the Liberian community, runs contrary to evidence, and violates the constitution,” states a press release by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Lawyers for Civil Rights, which filed the suit.

In other words, if a president exercises discretionary authority to grant a temporary benefit “directed at” a specific group of people, the decision to revoke that temporary benefit then becomes “intentional discrimination” against that specific group and is therefore unconstitutional. The press release (and the lawsuit itself) then offers opinion dressed up as fact to bolster their argument. “This lawsuit seeks to combat the discriminatory and xenophobic immigration policies driven by the Trump administration.”

There can be little doubt that the plaintiffs will find an activist federal judge who will buy these arguments and block the administration from ending DED for Liberians. It may not survive the legal process in the long run, but that’s not really the point of this and similar lawsuits. The goal is to run the clock on the Trump presidency and, in that respect, their strategy seems to be succeeding.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar
    George Peabody on

    President Trump is doing his job and keeping his Oath of Office and promise to limit population jihad against American society and law. MAGA !
    Now, arrest and deport the criminal illegal alien muslim jihadist named Barack Obama aka Barry Soetoro who usurped the OFFICE OF POTUS by I.D. Fraud with help of democrat Nancy Pelosi DNC & complicit MSM, !

  2. avatar

    The NWO Has Ruined American Safety Engineering in the Courts

    The Toyota/Lexus Time Bomb Computer is a great example of organized crime running the courts against American Safety Engineering. The Japanese engineered Takata airbags they ignored fixing for 10 years was put in my 2014 Charger anyway….its time to sanction Japan for safety engineering infractions…now its the 737 MAX’s crashing all over the world with Japanese engineering drawings the American FAA can’t read…the nightmare goes on and on folks…the MSM keeps completely quiet about it too…

  3. avatar
    Dave Mittner on

    As far as I’m concerned it’s not a matter of whether or not the president has the tool at his disposal. What’s in question is if he’s using that tool for political purposes, rather than genuine ones.

    Using “because he can” to rebut “should he?” is devoid of reason and enters the terrain of strawman arguments.

    • avatar

      It’s your argument that is the strawman. He has the authority. We already did this. Trump put restrictions on entry from several Muslim majority nations out of over 40, the same ones Obama had restricted entry before. After being challenged in the lower courts, the Supreme Court said he had been given the authority under law and trying to argue “political purposes” is meaningless. Going down that path, any presidential decision, legitimate under present law, could be challenged by either side. If Congress doesn’t want the president to have a power, change it. Don’t file some lawsuit.

    • avatar

      What part of “deferred” do you idiots not understand? You won’t like it when Americans are fed up with this $hit.

  4. avatar

    So, the POTUS has “discretion” which in point of LAW is authority delegated to him by The People’s democratically-elected legislative body operating under the United States Constitution – except when a judge says he doesn’t! makes perfect sense – if you’re a dictator wearing a black robe!