Liberians Now Eligible for Permanent Resident Status Under New Law
The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) Act was passed December 2019 as a small subsection in the national Defense Authorization Act. The LRIF Act has opened a one-year window for eligible Liberians to apply for adjustment of status. This window closes December 20, 2020.
Due to the civil war that broke out in Liberia in 1989, many fled to the United States for safety. The U.S. provided Liberians with temporary protection with programs like Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS was terminated May 21, 2017 and DED is set to expire on march 30, 2020, leaving many Liberians either already out of status, or soon to be.
In order to be eligible to apply for adjustment of status under this new law, Liberians must meet the following criteria:
- Must have been physically present in the United States since November 20, 2014:
- dependent family members do not have to show continuous presence, only the principal applicant
- Continuous presence is not broken if the applicant has an absence from the U.S. not exceeding 180 days.
2. Must be Admissible – Public Charge and Unlawful Entry Do Not Apply
- Applicants are exempt from public charge ground of inadmissibility and from being present without admission or parole
3. Eligible Even with Prior Orders of Removal
- The law allows Liberians with prior orders of removal, deportation , exclusion or voluntary departure not to be required to file motions to reopen the prior orders.
- Those with final orders can apply for a sty of removal either with their adjustment applications or after.
The only exclusions from eligibility:
- those convicted of an aggravated felony
- persecutors of others
- those who have been convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude (other than a purely political offense)
Eligible Liberians must apply by December 20, 2020 and provide documentation to show they have been continuously present in the U.S. since November 20, 2014 to the date of filing their Form I-485 and that they are otherwise eligible.