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 EngelHillicon Valley: Facebook reports huge spike in usage during pandemic | Democrats push for mail-in voting funds in coronavirus stimulus | Trump delays deadline to acquire REAL ID Lawmakers urge EU to sanction Putin associate for election interference Democrats press Pompeo to help Americans stranded abroad amid coronavirus MORE (D-N.Y.), Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (D-N.Y.), Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroLatinos projected to bear economic brunt of coronavirus Burr requests ethics investigation into stock sale, denies wrongdoing Castro forms PAC, boosts five House candidates MORE (D-Texas), Albio SiresAlbio B. SiresLawmakers raise concerns over Russia's growing influence in Venezuela Lawmakers request watchdog probe of Trump admin's ending of temporary protected status House passes resolution disapproving of Russia being included in future G7 summits MORE (D-N.J.) and Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenCoronavirus anxiety spreads across Capitol Hill Congress tiptoes toward remote voting House passes key surveillance bill with deadline looming MORE (D-Calif.), as well as one member of the Senate, Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezHillicon Valley: Facebook launches portal for coronavirus information | EU sees spike in Russian misinformation on outbreak | Senate Dem bill would encourage mail-in voting | Lawmakers question safety of Google virus website Democratic senators press Google over privacy of coronavirus screening site Menendez calls for 'Marie Yovanovitch bill' to protect foreign service employees 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.