WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - A Prince George’s County nurse who’s lived in the U.S. for nearly three decades is facing deportation in just two weeks.
Frances Baysah is among dozens of Liberian immigrants in the D.C. region and hundreds nationwide whose special legal status is ending under the Trump administration.
Baysah came to America in 1991 as Liberia was in the midst of a years-long civil war, and Liberians were being given temporary permission to stay in the U.S. Since then, she says she’s built a life here, working for 16 years as a nurse.
“I started from nursing assistant, up to a degree,” said Baysah. “So I’m happy. I’m privileged to be here and serve the American people. I love helping people, that’s my passion.”
While the civil war that brought her here is now over, she says conditions in Liberia are still extremely difficult.
“I don’t want to go back to poverty,” she said. “If I were to go back home, I have nothing to go to.”
At the end of March, she’ll face a choice: return to Liberia on her own, or become an undocumented immigrant in America, risking deportation.
“It’s like the anxiety level in the community is through the roof,” said Baysah. “So we just need help.”
She’s one of hundreds of thousands of immigrants impacted by the Trump administration’s crackdown on both legal and illegal immigration. Those who support Trump’s efforts say many immigrants were only supposed to be here temporarily to escape crisis, and that time has now passed.
“For Liberia, we’re looking at a country that has over 80% unemployment,” said Wala Blegay, a Liberian-American attorney advocating for immigrants like Baysah. “The roads are not good, the electricity isn’t there, the healthcare system. Look at the Ebola crisis that occurred in Liberia and how Liberia really couldn’t handle it because of the healthcare system there.”
Blegay says those are all things that should be considered. She’s helped organize meetings between members of Congress and Liberian immigrants. They were on Capitol Hill just days ago voicing support for a bill that would give a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants. But the effort by Democrats, called The Dream and Promise Act, isn’t likely to pass the Senate. So at this point, a change of heart by the president may be the only hope.
“We’re holding on to faith,” said Baysah. “There’s nothing like faith. And we’ll trust in God that something will work out.”