STATEN ISLAND, NY: Qualified Liberian immigrants have only until December 20 to apply for green cards through Federal Legislation that nears expiration, immigrant advocacy leaders and elected officials said.
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs hosted a media roundtable and virtual town hall last Wednesday with elected officials and advocates, informing New Yorkers and the Liberian community about the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) provision and its upcoming deadline.
Congress passed an act on December 20, 2019, that included LRIF, which allows qualified Liberian nationals, their spouses, unmarried children under 21 years old, and unmarried sons and daughters 21 years old or older and living in the United States to apply for lawful permanent resident status, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Although LRIF can help thousands of Liberians gain permanent residence status, only 2,300 people have applied to the program nationwide. Factors affecting the application process are COVID-19, economic struggles, expired paperwork, lack of knowledge of the program, and skepticism/fear in the Liberian community, immigrant supporters say.
Any Liberian national who has continuously lived in the United States from Nov. 20, 2014, to the date of filing their application may qualify. It is recommended that they consult a trustworthy legal representative to inquire about qualification.
As of now, there is no foreseeable extension for the program. However, many officials and advocates are trying to extend LRIF to make sure everyone eligible applies for the program;
Guest Writer: Jodie Bonhometre | firstname.lastname@example.org