Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27) led a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that his administration end its deportation agreement with Nicaragua’s Ortega regime and that it renew Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for qualifying Nicaraguans currently living in the United States. Rep. Shalala was joined by Rep. Eliot Engel (NY-16), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Albio Sires (NJ-08), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade.
“For months now, this administration has sat back and watched as the Ortega regime has violated human rights, murdered dissidents, and undermined Nicaragua’s democratic institutions,” said Rep. Shalala. “Not only has it failed to respond to this crisis, but the administration has also been actively cooperating with the Ortega regime in processing the deportation of Nicaraguans, even as we receive reports of return Nicaraguans facing incarceration, torture and execution.
“As the proud representative of one of the largest communities of Nicaraguan-Americans in the country,” Shalala continued, “I am committed to ending the expedited deportation of Nicaraguans from the U.S. and to continuing the extension of TPS until Nicaraguans may return home safely.”
“It is unconscionable that the Trump Administration continues to coordinate closely with Daniel Ortega in facilitating the deportations of Nicaraguans. President Trump is sending these individuals back to a burning building. Calling out repression in Nicaragua is simply not enough. I urge the President to treat fleeing Nicaraguans with the dignity they deserve,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I am appalled that ICE is providing information about deported Nicaraguan nationals to the authoritarian Ortega regime,” said Rep. Albio Sires, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade. “Many of these individuals have fled persecution in Nicaragua, only to be returned by U.S. officials with a man-made target on their backs. If the Trump Administration is serious about promoting human rights in Nicaragua, it will end this cooperation agreement with Ortega immediately.”
Since April 2018, Nicaraguans have been protesting the increasingly anti-democratic Ortega regime. The regime has responded to these protests with violence, repression, and persecution. As a result of this instability, from April 2018 to April 2019, more than 60,000 Nicaraguans have fled the country with many seeking refuge in neighboring Costa Rica and the United States.
Earlier this year, Congresswoman Shalala joined Rep. Diaz-Balart in introducing H.R. 2413, The Nicaragua TPS Act of 2019, legislation that would extend TPS to all Nicaraguans present in the United States at the time of its enactment.
You can find the full text of the letter here.
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