PhD Student Faces Deportation
Yatta Kiazolu is pursuing her PhD in History at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Recently, she received devastating and concerning news. Much to her surprise, Yatta may not be able to finish her degree despite having temporary visa to remain in the United States, work, and travel abroad. In fact, she might be deported to a country in which she has never called home - Liberia.
DED allows beneficiaries to obtain a work permit and travel outside the United States if they are granted advanced permission. DED does not provide a direct pathway to permanent immigrant status or citizenship. Liberia is currently the only country granted DED status. The program expires on March 31st.
If DED is allowed to expire, thousands of Liberians may be deported from the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officially states that:
"Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is in the president’s discretion to authorize as part of his power to conduct foreign relations. Although DED is not a specific immigration status, individuals covered by DED are not subject to removal from the United States, usually for a designated period of time."
There is growing concern that DED will not be renewed by the Trump administration, due to its push toward anti-migrant and anti-immigrant policies and rule-making. DED now seems like a new target for the administration, following past hits on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
Yatta Kiazolu is 28 years old and was born and raised in Botswana, South Africa. However, she is a Liberian citizen. Her parents brought her to the United States at the age of 6 years old. Yatta's parents lived in Liberia before Yatta Kiazolu was born, leaving her in an uncomfortable situation, now potentially deported to a home country in which she has never lived in and does not belong to her.