Nepal TPS Cancellation Underlines Need For Congressional Action
The Department of Homeland Security moved today to cancel Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nepal, exposing nearly 9,000 Nepali residents of the United States to possible deportation. This decision comes just after the three-year anniversary of a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that took the lives of nearly 9,000 people and damaged 14% of the housing stock in the entire country, prompting the government’s initial TPS designation in June 2015.
UUSC condemns the administration’s callous revocation of legal status to a vulnerable population. We call on Congress to enact a permanent legislative solution for TPS holders, in the form of the American Promise Act of 2017 (H.R. 4253) and the SECURE Act (S. 2144).
After three years of stalled recovery efforts, Nepal remains in a state of humanitarian crisis brought on by the 2015 earthquake. Two years after the disaster, only 3.5 percent of damaged homes in the country had been rebuilt. A recent UUSC staff visit to Nepal confirmed that, for our grassroots partners, the effects of the earthquake are still a daily reality.
When recovery efforts have been made, they have far too often prioritized the development goals of international donors over the needs of impacted communities. As a result, these efforts have in many cases magnified existing inequalities. UUSC’s partners at the Lawyers’ Association for the Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) note that recent development projects in Nepal are actually fueling the displacement of indigenous peoples, rather than helping them rebuild.
Further, this ongoing crisis was exacerbated last summer by catastrophic flooding over a third of the country, which displaced more than 460,000 more people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.
These conditions more than justify the renewal of TPS, which is intended to ensure that foreign nationals in the United States are not sent back to countries that cannot safely receive and reintegrate them.
Today’s cancellation is the latest in a series of decisions to end protected status for nationals of vulnerable nations, including Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, El Salvador, and Liberia – some of whose nationals had Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status in the United States, a program similar to TPS.
Evidence continues to mount that these cancellations are biased, unfounded, and in some cases motivated by racism. Documents obtained last week by the National Immigration Project revealed that in cancelling TPS for Haiti in November 2017, DHS likely ignored its own internal staff assessment of conditions in the country. Coupled with the President’s vulgar and derogatory remarks about people from TPS-designated countries in January, it is plain the administration is betraying the letter and spirit of the TPS statute in order to serve an anti-immigrant agenda.
UUSC expresses its solidarity with the Nepali community in the United States and the people of Nepal, in the face of this new threat to their human rights. The U.S. government should remember the words of Nepali poet Bhupi Sherchan: this land is mine as well as yours…