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Lawmakers request watchdog probe of Trump admin's ending of temporary protected status

Lawmakers request watchdog probe of Trump admin's ending of temporary protected status
© Greg Nash

Several House Democrats released a letter Tuesday calling for the State Department's inspector general to investigate the Trump administration's decision to end temporary protected status (TPS) for residents of Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti.

The lawmakers — Reps. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelIs Trump a better choice for Jewish voters than Biden? Overnight Defense: Trump says he's leaving Walter Reed, 'feeling really good' after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows | Dems expand probe into Pompeo speeches House Democrats push forward on probe of Pompeo's political speeches MORE (D-N.Y.), Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMarijuana stocks see boost after Harris debate comments Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL Democrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court MORE (D-N.Y.), Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroFormer DNC finance chairman Henry Muñoz: Latinos 'need to lead ourselves' Overnight Defense: Trump says he's leaving Walter Reed, 'feeling really good' after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows | Dems expand probe into Pompeo speeches House Democrats push forward on probe of Pompeo's political speeches MORE (D-Texas), Albio SiresAlbio B. SiresWe can't lose sight of Ortega's abuses in Nicaragua Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell wins Democratic primary MORE (D-N.J.) and Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenWhy prevailing wage reform matters for H-1B visas Fears grow of voter suppression in Texas Business groups start gaming out a Biden administration MORE (D-Calif.), as well as one member of the Senate, Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Kasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report MORE (D-N.J.) — called on the inspector general to look into why humanitarian protections were ended for refugees from those countries.

TPS allows for those fleeing armed conflict, environmental disaster or other crises to take refuge in the U.S. According to the lawmakers' letter, as many as 400,000 individuals were affected by the Trump administration's rollback of TPS for residents of the three countries.

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“We specifically request that the Office of the Inspector General review the extent to which Trump Administration political appointees in the State Department introduced electoral considerations into the TPS decision-making process,” the lawmakers wrote.

"The Trump Administration favored a predetermined political decision over the collective expertise of the State Department, disregarding the guidance provided by every other relevant office,” they argued.

The letter follows a report released by Menendez's staff, which revealed that American diplomats' findings from the ground in those three countries were ignored in favor of the Trump administration's desire to terminate TPS ahead of the 2020 election.

"Our investigation revealed that in 2017, the Trump administration's political appointees provided Secretary Tillerson with written recommendations to in fact accelerate the termination of TPS, with the 2020 election timeline in mind," Menendez said in November, when the report was released.