A group of seven members of the US Congress asked President Trump to stop deporting Nicaraguan asylum seekers. The deportations occur despite reports that several deportees were victims of imprisonment and torture by Ortega regime officials.
The letter, sent to the White House on September 3, bore the signatures of Albio Sires, chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee; Eliot L. Angel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and members of Congress Donna Shalala, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Adriano Espaillat, Debbie Mucarsel-Power and Juan Vargas.
The representatives stated, “We strongly condemn the recent decisions to expel Nicaraguan activists who suffered torture by the Ortega regime.”
A political decision that endangers the lives of Nicaraguan activists
Examples cited were Valeska Aleman, Moises Alberto Ortega Valdivia, and his wife Jessica Carolina Pavon Pavon. The legislators told Trump that the three deportees received no right to an interview. Subsequently, they were handed over to authorities of the Ortega regime, which previously imprisoned and tortured them.
The congress members believe Trump’s decision endangers the lives of Nicaraguan activists. Furthermore, they allege it “undermines” foreign policy objectives with Nicaragua and goes against the “values of the United States.”
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“We call for consideration of all future asylum applications in accordance with US laws. We also request your administration stop collaborating with the Ortega regime by deporting Nicaraguans,” the letter reads.
Valeska Aleman’s case was reported by the Washington Post on August 28. It focused on how the 22-year-old activist, twice tortured in the regime’s prisons, was deported from the US. This despite her presenting abundant evidence of the persecution and tortures against her.
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The situation for Ortega Valdivia and his wife was no better, according to the congressmen. Both were expelled from the United States without giving them the right to an interview. Back in Nicaragua, they suffer continuous harassment and threats, forcing them to take refuge in safe houses.
“These cases demonstrate the human cost of your Administration’s four-year effort to dismantle the United States asylum system. And using cruelty to try to stop future asylum seekers even if it means collaborating with repressive regimes. As such, it undermines the foreign policy objectives of the United States,” express the legislators.
The deporting of Nicaraguans continues
On July 28, 2018, just a few months after the outbreak of the April crisis, a group of congress members asked Trump to extend the Temporary Protective Status (TPS), due to the persecution unleashed in Nicaragua.
The legislators also noted how in 2019 they sent another letter requesting suspension of the deportations of Nicaraguans. In response, ICE acknowledged an agreement between the Trump administration and Ortega for the expulsion of Nicaraguans.
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According to the letter, “what ICE ignored is that deportees are taken to jails where they are interrogated by government officials. That’s what happened in the cases of Valeska Aleman and Moises Ortega Valdivia.”
The letter to Trump concludes: “we demand that you stop deporting Nicaraguans directly into the hands of Daniel Ortega.”