President Donald Trump is extending a humanitarian program that allows Liberians to live and work in the U.S.

The White House said Thursday that Trump signed a one-year extension of the program for immigrants who came from the African nation to escape environmental disasters and war. The status for thousands of Liberians had been set to expire Sunday.

The Republican president decided last year to end the program dating to 2007. He said it wasn't needed because conditions in Liberia have improved.

Two civil rights organizations sued in Boston this month on behalf of 15 Liberian immigrants.

Trump now says a "12-month wind-down period" for the program is appropriate.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, wants Congress to enact a more permanent legislative resolution.