Lawmakers request watchdog probe of Trump admin’s ending of temporary protected status
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 Engel (D-N.Y.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), as well as one member of the Senate, Sen. Bob Menendez (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.
“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.