Rafael Bernal at The Hill reports that in the wake of the recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee report released by Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), organizations from around the country have signed a letter urging Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID) to hold investigative hearings on the allegations surrounding the Trump administration’s unethical and possibly illegal actions in terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands of people.
The report, released November 7, exposes internal State Department memos and diplomatic cables that show how senior government officials warned the Trump administration that terminating TPS would have dire consequences. Furthermore, it highlights how the administration put Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign ahead of America’s national security and the lives of U.S. residents.
Bernal’s reporting is excerpted below, and available in full here:
Advocacy groups want a top GOP senator to take action on a Democratic report alleging ‘unethical and possibly illegal’ actions by the Trump administration against immigrants living in the U.S.
In a letter that will be sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a coalition of 44 groups say Chairman Jim Risch (R-Idaho) must address the findings of a November report by ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on the administration’s efforts to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) benefits for citizens of certain Central American and Caribbean countries.
… Menendez alleged in his report that the administration’s decision to end the program for those countries was driven by politics, including 2020 electoral considerations, rather than conditions on the ground. The report said State Department experts on the ground warned against termination.
“They warned such a move could endanger 273,000 US citizen children who might face family separation, hurt efforts to combat international criminal gangs and drug trafficking and lead to more mass migration to the United States,” the groups wrote in their letter to Risch.
“With full knowledge of these consequences, Trump administration political appointees not only moved forward with their plans to terminate TPS but accelerated the timeline for El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, among others, to better align with the Trump re-election campaign,” the coalition added.
… TPS designations, particularly for countries in the Western Hemisphere, have been renewed almost automatically by successive Democratic and Republican administrations; the Salvadoran designation has been active since 2001 following two earthquakes that ravaged the country.
… Political appointees in Washington argued for different lengths of extensions and wind-down periods, but the State Department policy-planning staff recommended to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson a shorter wind-down to avoid 2020 electoral implications.
… Advocacy groups said in their letter that such action may have broken the law.
“This outrageous abuse of power not only directly contradicts the recommendations of officials who urged then-Secretary Rex Tillerson to strongly endorse a 36-month wind-down period but may be a violation of the law. By statute, the TPS redesignation process must be devoid of political or electoral considerations,” the groups wrote.