US President Donald Trump has wielded the big hammer on Liberian migrants in the US.

Trump on Tuesday decided to end the protected status of thousands of the migrants and gave them a year to leave the country.

It is the latest of similar moves, after more than 250,000 Salvadorans, Haitians and Nicaraguans lost their protected status under an administration which has made cracking down on immigration a priority.

In 1991, when the West African country was in the grip of civil war, some Liberians living in the US were given “temporary protected status” to allow them to remain in safety.

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Then in 1999 approximately 10,000 of them were made eligible for “deferred enforced departure,” or DED, by then-president Bill Clinton, allowing them to continue to build new lives.

Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have periodically renewed the DED status, but Trump has now decided to allow it to expire, deeming Liberia safe for returnees.

Trump has taken a tough stance on immigration in general and, in reported private conversations, an even tougher stance on Africans from what he has reportedly deemed “shithole countries".

The latest grace period expires on March 31, but Trump said in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security that he would accord the Liberians a 12-month “wind-down” period to prepare their departure.

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