West Africans in Minnesota to lose immigration status

Hundreds of people living in Minnesota are expected to lose their temporary immigration status they were given when the Ebola epidemic hit three West African countries.

Minnesota Public Radio reports the Homeland Security Department granted temporary protected status to about 5,000 West Africans in 2014, allowing residents from the most impacted countries to live and work in the U.S. legally until the outbreak was contained. In 2016, the countries were declared Ebola free.

Advocates say Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are still recovering from the outbreak, so it’s not safe to go home yet. The status’ critics support the move and say programs designed to be temporary should end.

African Immigrant Services executive director Abdullah Kiatamba estimated that between 200 and 500 will be affected. Officials haven’t released numbers.