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Deadline Nears for Liberian Immigrants

October 04, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

WASHINGTON — Thousands of Liberians who fled to the United States to avoid that country's civil war have until Monday to reregister with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The bureau, part of the Homeland Security Department, estimates that about 2,700 Liberians are eligible to apply for what is known as temporary protected status. Registration would allow them another 12 months in the U.S.

Thousands of refugees from Liberia have received such one-year reprieves annually since 1992. They can live and work in the U.S. but cannot receive benefits such as food stamps.

All Liberians in the U.S. as of Oct. 1, 2002, must register during the 60-day period that began Aug. 6. Liberians who arrived in the summer, during the latest outbreak of fighting, are not covered by the temporary protected status program and do not have to register, Homeland Security spokesman Bill Strassberger said. Those who fail to register will be considered illegal immigrants subject to deportation.

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