Senate Democrats say 2020 election timing drove White House decision to end Haiti TPS

Alex Daugherty, Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

"We have very strong evidence that decision was ultimately affected by the personal and political reelection considerations of the Trump campaign," said Tom Jawetz, the vice president for immigration policy at the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.

The report's authors obtained a memo from Thomas Shannon, the most senior career diplomat in the State Department in 2017, in which he argued to Tillerson that he should renew TPS for Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras.

"It is rare for the State Department to be asked to comment on an issue with such immediate domestic political ramifications," Shannon wrote in a previously undisclosed memo in October 2017. "I understand the delicate nature of the decision. However, it is our purpose to provide the best possible foreign policy and diplomatic advice. From my point of view, that advice is obvious: extend TPS for the countries indicated."

A month later, the Department of Homeland Security, which receives official guidance from the State Department on TPS designations, announced that TPS would end.

At a Capitol Hill news conference about the report on Thursday, Juana Villanueva, a TPS holder from Honduras who has lived in the U.S. since 1998, and her daughter Liane Taracena, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen who is enrolled in college, said ending TPS would cause their family to be separated.


"She is a single mom and she is my support system," Taracena said. "Like ourselves, there are hundreds of thousands of other families with TPS, many of them who do have children, and it's really disheartening to think about all of those families possibly being separated from each other and having to decide to stay in the United States or having to go to an unfamiliar country they possibly don't know anything about."

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