Stranded Liberians, Others Seek Work Permits In U.S.

The Universal Human Rights International (UHRI) has petitioned the Obama administration to grant work permits to nationals of Ebola ravaged West African countries in the United States of America to be granted employment authorization.

The UHRI said consistent with the immigration Act of 1990, established by congress to provide TPS/DED, to immigrants in the USA who are temporarily unable to return to their home country because of the ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster or extraordinary and temporary conditions.

The UHRI’s petition comes against the backdrop of the worsening Ebola outbreak in West Africa which has killed several persons, infected thousand others. The organization also stated that to contain the virus out break, a State of Emergency has been effected with the closure of schools, hospitals, government offices reducing staffs, borders closed as well as the cancellation of flights.

The UHRI observed that due to the prevailing circumstances, many nationals from the worst hit countries who are in the USA cannot return home and therefore designation of TPS/DED would bring relief and work permits to stranded nationals especially of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in the USA.

The petition however, needs a total of 100,000 signatures for the White House to consider it. Meanwhile, a forum on Ebola will be conducted in Massachusetts on September 27 as the UHRI recruits doctors and nurses from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone as volunteers to join the awareness and prevention campaign.

The UHRI said the United States and Citizenship and Immigration Services, a branch of the US Department of Homeland Security last month announced that it is closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

According to USCIS, it has offered relief measures to nationals of the three Ebola stricken countries who are currently in the USA but the UHRI describes it as ‘woefully’ inadequate and do not address the needs of West African stranded in the USA.

“What we are asking the Obama administration to do is not only consistent with American laws; this is exactly what the US has done for people from other regions of the world in similar situation,” Senator Jack Reed-D-RI said.

Senator Reed-D-RI said since Liberians fled their homeland because of the civil crises, congress passed a law allowing 4, 996 Poles, 387 Ugandans, 565 Afghanis and 1, 180 Ethiopians to adjust their status and the 102nd Congress passed a legislation known as NACARA, which granted 150,000 Nicaraguans, 5, 000 Cubans, 200, 000 El Salvadorans and 50, 000 Guatemalans to become eligible to change their status.

The UHRI averred that it is necessary that the Obama administration considers the petition because there are over 7, 000 Liberians in the USA without work permits including Liberian refugee women evacuated by the Bush administration since June 2003.

“The Obama administration must demonstrate that it is prepared to provide equal protection, consistent with American laws by solving the problems of Liberians especially those evacuated to the USA legally by the US military,” UHRI said.