DHS Ends Protected Status For 9000 Nepalese Immigrants

Nepal is still grappling with the damage wreaked by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake nevertheless DHS is sending Nepalese immigrants back to their home country.

In its latest move to expel immigrants, the Trump administration announced to end the protected status granted to Nepalese immigrants following the tragic 2015 earthquake in the country.

According to the unofficial documents viewed by The Washington Post, Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will grant Nepalese a one-year period to prepare for their departure, but they would face deportation after June 24, 2019.

The department said it will delay the termination for 12 months “to allow for an orderly transition.”

The U.S. offered Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the foreign nationals from Nepal after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless in the country in 2015.

The decision, which will essentially thrust the natives of the South Asian country back to square one, was made after the department reviewed whether the conditions in Nepal had gotten better since its residents received the TPS designation.

“Since the 2015 earthquake, conditions in Nepal have notably improved,” the department’s statement read. “Additionally, since the last review of the country’s conditions in October 2016, Nepal has made substantial progress in post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction.”

“The disruption of living conditions in Nepal from the April 2015 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks that served as the basis for its TPS designation have decreased to a degree that they should no longer be regarded as substantial, and Nepal can now adequately manage the return of its nationals,” it said.

Predictably, the Nepali community advocates are enraged at the decision.

“Terminating TPS for Nepal is not just wrong but immoral,” Pabitra Khati Benjamin, executive director of Adhikaar, a New York City-based Nepali advocacy group, said in a statement. “It is clear that in the three years since the earthquake, Nepal is still very much in recovery mode.”

According to a report by advocacy group Catholic Legal Immigration Network, at the very least an 18-month TPS extension should be granted since the pace of recovery and reconstruction in Nepal has been slow.

The TPS designation, designed by the Congress in 1990, is meant to avoid sending foreigners back to nations destabilized by natural disasters, armed conflict and other catastrophes, according to the Washington Post.

However, since President Donald Trump took office, he made sure to reduce the effectiveness of this protection program considerably. Under his tenure, the DHS has decided to end temporary protected status for immigrants from several countries – including Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador, leaving hundreds and thousands of people who have begun to settle in the country, vulnerable to deportation.

“We will continue to determine each country’s TPS status on a country-by-country basis,” Nielsen said in a January statement, following her decision to extend TPS for about 6,000 Syrians.

Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Loren Elliott

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