Nicaragua Still Suffering From Natural Disaster?

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According to the Federal Register of November 4, 2011, “The Secretary [of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security]has determined that an extension [of Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguans in the United States]is warranted because the conditions in Nicaragua that prompted the TPS designation continue to be met. There continues to be a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in Nicaragua resulting from Hurricane Mitch [which struck Central America in 1998], and Nicaragua remains unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals.”

How does this assessment by Secretary Napolitano stack up with reality as reported from Nicaragua? The following news item was circulated by the Nicaraguan embassy in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2011:

“Nicaragua Achieves Major Results in Agriculture”
Nicaragua will report an increase in agricultural production of more than 13.9 percent this year to meet the demand from domestic consumption and exports, according to Agriculture Minister Ariel Bucardo. Among the main crops, Bucardo mentioned coffee, tobacco, sugar cane, corn, rice, sorghum and other grains.

In other words, there is little that is humanitarian and nothing “temporary” about TPS. The extension of TPS for Nicaragua and for Honduras since 1998 is a political rather than humanitarian policy decision intended to keep nationals of those two countries from reverting to illegal alien status and again become deportable. The estimated number of Nicaraguans who have received work permits under the TPS designation is about 3,000. An additional estimated 64,000 Hondurans have been receiving the same TPS designation benefit since 1998.

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Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).

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