Minnesota Liberians got good news Friday when President Obama announced that Liberian immigrants living here legally under a special temporary immigration status may continue to live and work here for another 18 months.

The deadline for those Liberians allowed to stay under the temporary protected status was set to expire March 31. In a memo to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Obama said that there were “compelling foreign policy reasons” to again extend the departure deadline.

The presidential order applies to Liberians who fled the country amid years of civil war and who are living legally in the United States under what’s known as “deferred enforced departure status.” Thousands of Liberians fled the fighting and came to America in 1989 after a bloody civil war broke out in their homeland, and have since then been granted regular extensions because of the ongoing conflict.

Minnesota is home to a sizable Liberian population. Census figures estimate between 5,000 and 7,000 Liberians live here, while local Liberian community organizations put the number at 25,000.

Allie Shah