Attorney General Keith Ellison has for the third time this year filed a legal motion to protect Liberians from President Donald Trump’s attempt to end their Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) protections.
President Trump issued a directive to terminate DED protections for Liberians on March 27, 2018 and the order was set to take effect on March 31 of this year. A group of plaintiffs called African Communities Together (ACT) filed suit against the directive on March 8, 2019. Attorney General Ellison and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey then co-led a coalition of 10 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs’ lawsuit.
The Trump administration extended DED protections for an additional year, but moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ lawsuit – an action that was met with a second legal brief from Attorney General Ellison.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed the lawsuit in October. The court found that while the plaintiffs had suffered injury as a result of Trump’s directive, it had no legal authority to order the president to extend the deadline for ending DED.
Attorney General Ellison has now filed another amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in support of a motion to appeal the dismissal of the lawsuit. Ellison and a coalition of 13 attorneys general argue that the district court erred in dismissing the lawsuit “because the court could have enjoined the Secretary of Homeland Security from implementing the president’s directive.”
“The court, though, failed to recognize that the President’s directive orders the Secretary of Homeland Security (a party to this matter) to take action to terminate DED,” states the brief. “If the court were to find that the President acted unconstitutionally in ordering the Secretary to terminate DED, it could enjoin the Secretary from taking measures to accomplish the ordered termination.”
“Every Minnesotan deserves to live with dignity and respect, and every Minnesota community thrives when our Liberian neighbors, co-workers, caregivers, and friends thrive. Liberians are woven into the fabric of every community in our state,” Ellison said in a statement. “As long as the Trump administration keeps trying to deport Liberians from their longtime homes in Minnesota, I’ll keep fighting for them.”
The amicus brief further argues that terminating DED protections for Liberians would force them to return to the “unsafe conditions” of their homeland, which many of them fled following the outbreak of civil war in 1989.
“This will deprive the Amici States’ economies and communities of positive contributions from coworkers and neighbors who have lived here for decades. Our health care industries in particular will suffer, as many Liberians work in that field,” the brief continues.
The Trump administration has argued that conditions in Liberia have improved and do not warrant a further extension of DED.
As The Minnesota Sun previously reported, Ellison had joined at least nine different lawsuits, motions, or amicus briefs against the Trump administration in his first 10 months in office.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “African Communities Together March” by African Communities Together.