Reps. Payne, Ellison, Serrano, Clarke Introduce West African Ebola Relief Act

May 24, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) along with Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY), and Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) released the following statements after introducing the West African Ebola Relief Act (H.R. 2597). The bill would extend Temporary Protected Status to individuals from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, who had their status terminated this weekend.

Earlier this month, forty-five Members of Congress wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, urging him to redesignate and extend Temporary Protected Status for Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea for eighteen months. This bill legislates the same request. 

“As Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone continue to recover from the Ebola epidemic, they are not yet in a position to receive those foreign nationals currently in the United States,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “Allowing nationals from Ebola-affected countries to temporarily remain in the United States will not only ease the burdens on West African nations as they rebuild, it will protect those nationals from the unstable conditions that persist in their home countries. Temporary Protected Status is a humane and necessary measure in the aftermath of the Ebola crisis; the Department of Homeland Security’s refusal to extend it is simply irresponsible. I’m proud that my district includes a large West African community, and I will continue to fight to make sure they have the necessary support.”

“Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are still recovering for the Ebola crisis, which devastated public infrastructure and exacerbated health challenges,” Rep. Ellison said. “A true recovery will take years. Now is not the time to force members of our community to return to vulnerable countries already struggling to provide for its citizens.” 

“Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone are still rebuilding after the recent Ebola crisis.  An extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is necessary to allow nationals from these three nations to remain safe in the United States and to allow the countries affected by the crisis to rebuild their health care infrastructure and economies. I am disappointed that the Department of Homeland Security failed to act on this pressing issue, but I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the West African Ebola Relief Act, which would mandate the extension of TPS to these countries immediately,” said Rep. Serrano.

"The people of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have worked tirelessly to fight the Ebola epidemic. We must continue to support those efforts by allowing their citizens who are here in the United States to work and send home remittances to support the recovery. By enacting the West African Ebola Relief Act, we will contribute to that critical effort," Rep. Clarke said.