Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
March 13, 2006
Termination of Liberian Eligibility for Priority-3 Family Reunification Refugee Admissions Processing, Effective September 30, 2006
After more than 15 years of devastating civil war, the situation in Liberia has and continues to improve. The recent democratic elections have provided an historic opportunity for Liberians to return home. Newly-elected Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has issued a call for all Liberians to come home and be a part of the rebuilding process in their country. The United States supports Liberia in these efforts. U.S. policy is to assist Liberia in restoring its democratic processes and in rebuilding its infrastructure. We join with UNHCR and others in the international community in encouraging Liberian refugees located in neighboring countries to return home. In FY-2005, the U.S. government contributed over $28 million to repatriation and reintegration programs and activities for Liberia.
U.S. Refugee Admissions Processing for Liberians
The level of U.S. refugee admissions processing for Liberians has been reduced due to the changed circumstances in Liberia. Large-scale resettlement programs for groups of Liberian refugees in West Africa have been completed. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is no longer referring Liberian refugees for resettlement, except for rare and exceptional individual cases.
Given that conditions in Liberia have changed significantly and that refugees now are able to return home with assistance provided by the international community, Priority-3 (family reunion) eligibility for Liberians will end as of September 30, 2006. After that date, no new Affidavits of Relationship (AORs) will be accepted from Liberian nationals.
In addition, to avoid interfering with these repatriation efforts, we have suspended additional processing of already existing Priority-3 refugee family reunion cases in West Africa. While the U.S. will eventually complete interviews of family reunion cases based on AORs filed on or before September 30, 2006, no date has been set for resumption of processing.