ST. PAUL - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is urging President Donald Trump to reconsider his recent decision that could force potentially thousands of Liberians living here to leave the country.
On Tuesday, March 27, Trump decided not to renew special protections afforded to Liberians that have allowed them to legally live in the United States for decades. Trump's decision gives the affected people - estimated somewhere between 900 and 4,000 - until March 31, 2019.
Because the Liberians came here legally - fleeing the country's civil war - and have generally been living here for decades, many Liberians, their advocates, and a number of Democrats, have criticized Trump's decision.
"They are part of the social fabric of Minnesota; they are our neighbors, colleagues, and friends," Dayton said in a letter to Trump made public Thursday.
His letter continues: "Minnesotans welcomed Liberian refugees with open arms, and today our state is home to the largest community of Liberian Americans of any state in the nation. We are proud of our Liberian neighbors, and grateful for their many contributions to our communities, our culture, and our economy."
Liberia has deep ties to the United States. It was founded by freed American slaves and their descendants.