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Reps. Sires, Shalala and Colleagues Urge President Trump to Stop Deporting Nicaraguan Activists

Sep 3, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, and Congresswoman Donna Shalala (D-FL), sent a letter along with five of their colleagues to President Donald J. Trump, condemning his administration’s expulsion of Nicaraguan asylum-seekers and urging his administration to stop collaborating with the Ortega regime to deport Nicaraguans:

“As members of Congress committed to advancing a return to democracy in Nicaragua, we strongly condemn your administration’s recent decision to expel Nicaraguan activists who had reportedly been tortured by the regime of Daniel Ortega,” the members wrote. “We call for any such future asylum requests to be considered, in accordance with U.S. law, and urge your administration to cease collaborating with the Ortega regime in deporting Nicaraguans.”

“The cases [of Valeska Alemán, Moises Alberto Ortega Valdivia, and Jessica Carolina Pavon Pavon] demonstrate the human cost of your administration’s four-year effort to dismantle the U.S. asylum system and use cruelty to try to deter prospective asylum-seekers, even if it means collaborating with repressive regimes and undermining U.S. foreign policy goals,” the members continued. “Last year, a number of us voiced our concerns about your administration’s treatment of Nicaraguan asylum-seekers and urged you to cease collaborating with the Ortega regime in deporting Nicaraguans. In response, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed your administration’s partnership with the Nicaraguan government to deport Nicaraguans. What ICE did not address in its response is that deported Nicaraguans are often brought to detention facilities where they are interrogated by Ortega regime officials, as occurred in the cases of Ms. Alemán and Mr. Ortega Valdivia…We urge you to stop deporting Nicaraguan asylum-seekers back into the arms of Daniel Ortega.”

The letter was signed by Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-08), Congresswoman Donna Shalala (FL-27), Congressman Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), and Congressman Juan Vargas (CA- 51).

The full text of the letter can be found here: