DHS announced this week that it has extended employment authorization and Deferred Enforced Departure ("DED") for qualifying Liberians. President Obama announced that the administration would extend DED for qualifying Liberians through September 30, 2016. The extension will enable individuals who are already covered by DED to retain this protection and will permit eligible Liberians to continue to work while they file their applications. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") will issue a notice in the Federal Register which will provide information on the automatic extension of employment authorization and instructions on how eligible Liberians can apply for a new Employment Authorization Document valid through September 30, 3016.

Currently, the employment authorization of Liberians covered under DED will expire on September 30, 2014. Through the publication of a notice in the Federal Register, the DHS will automatically extend their employment authorization for six months through March 30, 2015. This automatic extension will allow covered Liberians to apply and receive new employment authorization documents valid through September 30, 2016. Once issued, a copy of the Federal Register Notice granting this automatic extension of employment authorization will be sufficient documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, purposes and will demonstrate employment authorization from October 1, 2014 through March 30, 2015. Employers should re-verify the employment authorization of these individuals shortly before March 30, 2015. At that point, these individuals must provide a valid employment authorization document in order to continue to demonstrate their ability to continue working in the United States.

Similar to Temporary Protected Status, DED allows eligible individuals to remain in the United States for limited periods of time according to directives issued by the US President. DED provides certain protections to nationals of the designated country such as protection from removal from the United States, eligibility for an employment authorization document and travel authorization. DED is not a path to US lawful permanent residence. Currently only Liberia is designated for DED.