Sunday Alamba, Associated Press
President Barack Obama's administration won't deport Liberian immigrants from Rhode Island and other states back to the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa for at least two more years.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's administration won't deport Liberian immigrants from Rhode Island and other states back to the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa for at least two more years.

Obama on Friday granted Liberian immigrants a legal protection called a deferred enforced departure. The decision extends deportation protections for Liberian immigrants that have been in place for more than a decade.

The government first granted temporary protective status to Liberians during their country's bloody civil war, which started in 1991 and didn't end until 2003.

That original protection expired in October 2007. President George W. Bush then approved deferred enforced departure for the community.

Obama later approved the same protection. He renewed it Friday for two more years.

Rhode Island's Democratic U.S. Sen. Jack Reed applauds the decision.