Washington – Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and 21 Senate Democrats joined together to call on the Trump administration to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nepalese nationals living in the United States after the devastating earthquake in April 2015 killed more than 9,000 people and rendered thousands more displaced and homeless.
In their letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan, the Senators argued that extending TPS for Nepal would help the Nepalese government focus their limited resources on rebuilding efforts and prevent individuals from being returned to unsafe and uncertain conditions.
“Nepalese nationals in the United States are living in a state of uncertainty, not knowing whether they will be forced to return to an unsafe situation in their home country,” the Senators wrote. “We urge you to extend the TPS designation for Nepal and allow these nationals to remain in the United States until the conditions in their home country are further improved.”
In addition to Feinstein and Hirono, the letter was signed by Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
View a signed PDF of the letter here. Full text of the letter is included below.
April 16, 2018
The Honorable John J. Sullivan
Acting Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Nebraska Avenue Complex 3801 Nebraska Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Secretary Nielsen and Acting Secretary Sullivan:
We urge the administration to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation granted to Nepalese nationals living in the United States after the devastating April 2015 earthquake that killed 9,000 individuals and left many thousands more homeless and displaced. Shortly after the earthquake, 12 U.S. Senators signed a letter requesting a TPS designation for these nationals, and a designation was promptly granted. As Nepal continues to rebuild, we request an immediate extension of the current designation, which expires on June 24, 2018.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015 not only resulted in a substantial loss of life, but also devastated Nepal’s infrastructure—destroying large swaths of the country from the capital of Kathmandu to the rural areas. The earthquake destroyed more than half a million homes, and forced nearly 650,000 families to seek shelter. Even today, as the country works to rebuild its infrastructure and restore housing to previous levels, the situation remains perilous. As recently as last summer, more than two-thirds of those affected were still living in temporary shelters. An extension of the TPS designation for Nepalese nationals in the United States would help the Nepalese government focus limited resources on rebuilding efforts and prevent individuals from being returned to uncertain and unsafe conditions.
As you know, TPS is designed to grant protection for foreign nationals living in the United States when extraordinary circumstances make it difficult for them to return to their home countries. Current law dictates that TPS may be granted when there are, “conditions in the foreign state that prevent… nationals of the state from returning to the state in safety.” We believe that the devastating damage in Nepal and the challenges its government faces clearly meet these criteria, and that extending the TPS designation would help the Nepalese government restore housing, safety, and stability to its people.
Nepalese nationals in the United States are living in a state of uncertainty, not knowing whether they will be forced to return to an unsafe situation in their home country. We urge you to extend the TPS designation for Nepal and allow these nationals to remain in the United States until the conditions in their home country are further improved.
We thank you for your attention to this urgent matter and look forward to your response.