We, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from Nepal and other countries, denounce the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision on April 26th, 2018 to revoke Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the 9,000 Nepalis who have resided in the United States following the 2015 earthquakes. We also stand in solidarity with the El Salvadorian, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Sudanese community members affected by the revocation of TPS.
Dozens of Peace Corps Nepal Volunteers experienced the devastating 2015 earthquakes and aftershocks alongside our Nepali communities. We had, and still have, strong relationships with those affected by the earthquakes, and witnessed the displacement of millions of people, and the destruction of their homes, their schools, their water systems, and the lives of their loved ones. We can attest to the fact that the physical and psychological trauma of the 2015 earthquakes was severe, and very much continues today.
Vulnerable communities in Nepal experienced severe psychological, economical, and physical damage after the catastrophic earthquake, and were given little support to rebuild. Many of us saw firsthand how aid money was slowly distributed, very rarely reaching the families most in need. In fact, many are still waiting to receive the full support promised to them by the Nepal government. The destructive aftermath of the earthquake was further impacted by political instability and the absence of local government, continuing aftershocks and severe flooding. Already struggling Nepalis lost their jobs and livelihoods, making it difficult to maintain their family's well-being.
With the instatement of TPS in 2015, Nepalis were given a chance to support their families and communities in a way they would not have otherwise. Most Nepali TPS holders that live in the United States work full-time, earning low-wages while still devoting substantial amounts of their salaries to supporting their families and communities back home. Despite DHS’ announcement, the earthquake-induced disruptions to many Nepali communities are still substantial. Forcibly removing current TPS holders would disrupt the lives they have built here, and drastically affect their communities back in Nepal who rely on these remittances while they slowly rebuild.
We, as Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, believe that the removal of TPS goes against the very mission of the United States Peace Corps: American grassroots investment in people and communities of developing countries around the world. We believe in strengthening communities, not turning them away in time of need. We believe that we must understand and validate the humanity of every individual, no matter the country of their origin. We understand that access to resources is not based on who is deserving, and that many Nepalis from the earthquake-affected districts, through no fault of their own, have had their lives destroyed and their need for support amplified.
We, the undersigned Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Nepal and beyond, denounce the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to prematurely end TPS for the thousands of Nepalis, as well as individuals from other impacted countries affected by natural disaster, political instability, and civil unrest. We stand in solidarity with all those affected by this administration’s anti-immigrant agenda, and continue to stand up for world peace and friendship.
written by Sacha Maniar N201, Zach Garcia N201, Rachel Holtzman N202