January 10, 2022

El Senador Menéndez Lidera Llamado de Demócratas del Senado para Urgir Designaciones de TPS para El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua

WASHINGTON – El Senador Bob Menéndez (D-N.J.), Presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senador, hoy fue acompañado por 32 de sus colegas demócratas del Senado en solicitar formalmente que la Administración Biden renueve las designaciones de Estatus de Protección Temporal (TPS, por sus siglas en inglés) para El Salvador, Honduras y Nicaragua, al igual que una nueva designación de TPS para Guatemala. En una carta dirigida al Secretario de Seguridad Nacional, Alejandro Mayorkas, y al Secretario de Estado, Antony Blinken, los senadores expresaron su grave preocupación por el empeoramiento de las condiciones humanitarias en toda Centroamérica, el cual ha sido agravado por la pandemia del COVID-19 y los múltiples y devastadores desastres naturales, que contribuyeron a un aumento de emigración desde la región. 

“La crisis en Centroamérica es urgente… Las designaciones y reasignaciones de TPS proporcionarían protecciones críticas para los beneficiarios elegibles y les permitiría cubrir las necesidades básicas de sus familiares en sus países de origen e invertir en alternativas más seguras a la migración irregular", escribieron los senadores. "Es nuestra evaluación que los graves daños causados por los huracanes consecutivos hace poco más de un año, combinado con las condiciones de sequía extrema, y las crisis sociales y económicas exacerbadas por la pandemia de COVID-19, justifican esta acción por parte de la Administración”.

Establecido por el Congreso de EE.UU. a través de la Ley de Inmigración de 1990, el TPS es un programa temporal y renovable que proporciona alivio de la deportación y acceso a un permiso de trabajo a personas de ciertos países que no pueden regresar a su país de origen debido a desastres naturales, conflictos armados u otras condiciones extraordinarias.

“Más de un millón de centroamericanos han sido desplazados por la violencia e inseguridad. La violencia de género sigue siendo uno de los principales impulsores del desplazamiento, con tasas que aumentaron drásticamente a lo largo de 2020...Asimismo, los países de la región han sufrido un grave retroceso democrático y se ha visto un aumento en la persecución política, incluso mediante la consolidación de una dictadura en Nicaragua, el desmantelamiento de los poderes judiciales independientes, y los esfuerzos para intimidar y silenciar a la sociedad civil y los medios de comunicación independientes", añadieron los senadores. "El gobierno Biden debe actuar y proporcionar seguridad a los individuos elegibles de Centroamérica durante este difícil momento. Estas designaciones temporales darían al gobierno de Estados Unidos más tiempo para trabajar con los gobiernos y la sociedad civil para asegurar que el regreso de un gran número de individuos a Centroamérica no cree más inestabilidad y volatilidad en la región”.

Junto con el Senador Menéndez, la carta fue firmada por el Líder Mayoritario del Senado Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) y los Senadores Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), y Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).

Encuentre una copia de la carta AQUÍ y a continuación.

Dear Secretary Mayorkas and Secretary Blinken,

We write to express our concerns about ongoing humanitarian needs in Central America and to appeal for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) redesignations for El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and a new TPS designation for Guatemala. It is our assessment that the severe damage caused by back-to-back hurricanes just over one year ago, combined with extreme drought conditions, and the social and economic crises exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, warrant such an action by the Administration. The Guatemalan government has requested a TPS designation, and U.S. Embassies have issued disaster declarations for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua in recognition of the urgent needs. TPS designations and redesignations would provide critical protections for eligible beneficiaries and enable them to support basic needs of loved ones back home and invest in safer alternatives to irregular migration. Lastly, such designations would be consistent with the Administration’s commitments to address climate migration.

 

The crisis in Central America is urgent. In the past year, the region has experienced extreme weather events, including two hurricanes followed by a months-long drought. According to the World Food Program (WFP), farmers in the region face the worst dry farming season in 35 years. Hunger in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua has increased almost fourfold over the past two years, according to WFP, from 2.2 million people in 2018 to close to 8 million people in 2021. Eight in ten households are resorting to crisis coping measures, selling their lands, tools, and livestock, and missing meals or eating less nutritious meals. It will take years to repair damage to roads, schools, bridges, wells, and other physical infrastructure caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota, which continue to impede citizens’ livelihoods. The pressures have led to an uptick in outmigration from the region. In January, 15 percent of people surveyed by WFP said they were making concrete plans to migrate — double the number two years ago. Media report that the region’s citizens are having to choose between migrating or facing hunger. Despite U.S. Embassies’ disaster declarations, which activated the delivery of U.S. humanitarian assistance, 8.3 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in July 2021, including 5.5 million who were in desperate need of food as of September 2021, according to the Famine Early Warning System Network.

 

The International Monetary Fund says that remittances initially supported the region’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but tropical storms Eta and Iota interrupted progress, damaging crops and halting manufacturing. In 2020, Honduras’ GDP dropped nine percent, El Salvador’s GDP dropped nearly eight percent, Nicaragua’s dropped two percent, and Guatemala’s by 1.8 percent. The IMF supported the region with emergency financing to cope with these shocks. However, the enduring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and lagging vaccination campaigns, especially in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, will prolong the region’s economic recovery.

 

Combined, the effects of the natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic have profoundly exacerbated food insecurity, violence, and led to rising social tensions. Forced displacement continues to plague the region. Over one million Central Americans have been displaced by violence and insecurity. Gender-based violence continues to be a major driver of displacement, with rates increasing dramatically throughout 2020. On November 3, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights named El Salvador the most dangerous Latin American country for women. Additionally, countries in the region have suffered severe democratic backsliding and political persecution is on the rise, including through the consolidation of a dictatorship in Nicaragua, the dismantling of independent judiciaries, and efforts to intimidate and silence civil society and independent media.

 

TPS is a humanitarian tool used by both Democratic and Republican administrations to provide relief for individuals who are unable to return to countries facing extraordinary conditions. The Biden administration must act and provide certainty for eligible individuals from Central America during this challenging moment. These temporary designations would give the U.S. government more time to partner with governments and civil society in the region to ensure that the return of a large number of individuals to Central America does not create further instability and volatility. They would also provide immediate and tangible humanitarian benefits to new status holders and help mitigate the factors driving dangerous outmigration by securing life-saving remittances.

 

It is our view that El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua meet the standards for TPS. We look forward to working closely with and supporting the Biden administration as it take this important step to uphold humanitarian protections, safeguard U.S. national security interests, and defend American families. Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

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