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Washington Post, “Government emails reveal internal debates over ending immigrant protections”

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Administration Terminated TPS for Sudan Despite Advice from Country Condition Experts

TPS Expiration Date for Sudan: 11/2/2018

Nick Miroff at the Washington Post reports that emails released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reveal the Trump administration disregarded the advice of DHS officials cautioning against the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Sudan. Although there are emails acknowledging that Sudan’s deteriorating conditions more than justify extending Sudan’s TPS status, the administration overruled experts and terminated the program anyway.

This is not the first occurance. The administration also ignored expert warnings when deciding the fate of TPS for Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Miroff’s reporting is excerpted below:

DHS officials had justified their decision to terminate the immigrants’ temporary protected status (TPS) on the grounds that security in Sudan had improved and that armed conflict was no longer ongoing. But neither assertion was true.

“Insurgents conducted a significant military offensive as recently as this spring in Darfur,” Mandi Tuttle, an Africa policy adviser at the Defense Department, pointed out to top officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), the agency within DHS that administers the TPS program. Tuttle said its statements were neither “factually accurate” nor “credible.”

Experts at the State Department warned that “inaccuracies” in DHS’s characterization of the conflict there would give the Sudanese government a green light to shove refugees back into deadly conflict zones.

“We literally were forced to dispatch our Foreign Affairs Officers by taxi to the Embassies with virtually no notice,” Christopher Ashe, the top official at the State Department’s Office of International Migration, wrote to James McCament, who was acting director at CIS at the time.


Jessica Karp Bansal, co-legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in Los Angeles, one of the groups that has filed suit with the ACLU, said the government emails reveal a political motivation to expel the immigrants using the most restrictive possible legal grounds.

“I think these show the way they got there was illegal, because they recognized that if they looked at TPS the same way that previous administrations did, asking whether it was safe to send people back, they could not terminate,” she said.

Some of the emails appear to depict staffers at DHS struggling to make a coherent case to end the protections.

In one email, senior DHS official L. Francis Cissna told staffers the agency’s report recommending termination for Sudan “indicates that it remains unsafe for individuals to return” and that “termination does not appear to be warranted.” Then, he notes, the report goes on to recommend termination anyway — the finding Cissna sought.

“The memo reads like one person who strongly supports extending TPS for Sudan wrote everything up to the recommendation section, and then someone who opposes extension snuck up behind the first guy, clubbed him over the head, pushed his senseless body out of the way, and finished the memo,” wrote Cissna, who was sworn in as director of CIS six weeks later. “Am I missing something?”