Senate Republicans and Democrats approved a defense budget for Fiscal Year 2020 after slipping into it an amnesty for nearly 1,000 Liberian nationals who will now be eligible for American citizenship.
This week, the Senate passed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that includes a provision that gives amnesty to about 840 Liberian nationals and their children who would otherwise have self-deported from the United States in March.
In early 2018, President Trump ended Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberia, which acted as a de facto amnesty for Liberians to stay in the U.S. since 1991. Liberians were first given the temporary amnesty in the early 1990s due to a civil war in their nation.
After decades of renewing the temporary amnesty by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — despite the nation’s civil war long having ended — Trump reviewed their DED status and determined that Liberia is safe for nationals in the U.S. to return to.
The amnesty for Liberian nationals slipped into the defense budget had been pushed for months by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and a handful of Minnesota lawmakers. Effectively, all Liberian nationals who were allowed to stay in the U.S. over the last few decades will now be allowed to adjust their immigration status, making them permanent residences who can eventually apply to become American citizens.
Liberian nationals will only be disqualified from the amnesty if they have been convicted of aggravated felonies such as murder, rape, child sex abuse, sex trafficking, and kidnapping.
Also included in the defense budget is billions of American taxpayer money that will continue funding border security measures in foreign countries like Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia. Meanwhile, less than $1.4 billion is explicitly authorized for the construction of a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.