Fact Sheet: Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)

What is Deferred Enforced Departure?

A form of relief from removal. Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) (formerly Extended Voluntary Departure) allows certain individuals from designated countries and regions facing political or civic conflict or natural disaster to stay in the United States.

DED is a temporary immigration benefit. It provides an administrative stay of removal designated for specific period of time.

Which countries are currently designated for DED?

Only Liberia. Liberia is the only country currently designated for DED. President George W. Bush granted DED to about 10,000 Liberians in the U.S. after their TPS expired in 2007. Liberia’s DED designation had been extended until March 27, 2018 when President Trump issued a memorandum directing DHS to start a 12-month wind-down period of the program that was set to expire on March 31, 2019. However, on March 28, 2019, President Trump issued a new memo, extending the wind-down period for an additional 12 months, due to concerns over the overall situation in West Africa. The memo set a new termination date of March 31, 2020, after which all Liberian DED holders will have to leave the U.S.

How many Liberians currently hold DED?

Unclear but likely ranges from 840 to 3,600. While the actual number of Liberian DED holders is unclear, there were about 840 Liberian nationals with approved employment authorization under the DED directive in March 2018. This number, however, does not include all Liberians with DED as some of them may not have applied for work permits. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) estimates  about 3,600 Liberians were TPS holders at the time DHS terminated their status in 2007. Only Liberians who held TPS before its termination are eligible for DED.

Who designates countries for DED?

The President. The President of the United States has the discretion to designate countries or regions for DED as part of the president’s power to conduct foreign relations. The president generally grants DED, which has no statutory basis, by issuing a presidential directive through an executive order or presidential memorandum.

Who is eligible for DED?

Individuals meeting the criteria in the president’s directive. Eligibility criteria for DED are country or region-specific offset forth in the president’s directive together with any additional requirements issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The eligibility criteria typically include demonstration of continuous presence in the U.S. since a specific date.

How long do individuals generally receive DED?

It depends on each country’s or region’s designation. The president establishes the initial time frame for DED and may decide to extend the protection before its expiration date.

Are DED holders allowed to work?

Yes. The president’s directive may provide that individuals eligible for DED may apply for work authorization.

Can DED holders travel abroad?

Not without advance parole. While the presidential directive may include travel authorization, currently DED holders must file and be approved for advance parole if they want to travel abroad. Advance parole is a travel document that allows individuals who do not have a visa to be readmitted to the U.S. after travelling abroad during a specific approved time period.

Does DED differ from Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and deferred action?

Yes. The following table summarizes the differences between DED, TPS and deferred action:

Which other countries or regions were previously granted DED?

China, Persian Gulf, El Salvador and Haiti. DED was first granted in 1990 and has been granted five times to provide an administrative stay of removal for certain individuals from China, Persian Gulf, El Salvador, Haiti and Liberia.

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