WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement, and Representative James P. McGovern, Ranking Member of the Rules Committee, are leading 50 members in calling on the Administration to defer the removal of Colombians. Despite efforts within Colombia to curb violence, illegal armed groups have intensified attacks over recent years. By granting Colombia the designation of Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED), the United States can both protect Colombians and support Colombia in efforts to transition toward peace.
“DED was established to provide the president with a vital tool in U.S. foreign policy by protecting foreign nationals in the United States from civil, political, and humanitarian crises in their home country that make it unsafe for them to return, or whose suspension of deportation serves other United States foreign policy or domestic interests,” wrote the Members. “Colombia is not only transitioning from an armed conflict and curbing ongoing violence but also providing safety for migrants fleeing instability within an overburdened relief system. These are compelling foreign policy reasons to extend DED to Colombians residing in the United States in order to support Colombia’s ongoing peace-building efforts and regional leadership in the significant migratory movement within the hemisphere without the added challenges of reintegrating individuals removed from the U.S.”
Colombia has endured more than 60 years of armed conflict between guerilla groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Army of National Liberation (ELN), paramilitary groups, and the government. As a result of this violence, 450,666 people were killed in the armed conflict, while 121,768 civilians were forcibly disappeared. Although peace accords have been signed and a Final Peace Agreement was reached in 2016, violence among armed groups has continued to be a pervasive problem.
The letter was also signed by Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Donald Beyer (VA-08), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Cori Bush (MO-01), André Carson (IN-07), Greg Casar (TX-35), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Lou Correa (CA-46), Mark DeSaulnier CA-10), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Maxwell Frost (FL-10), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04), Daniel Goldman (NY-10), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Ted Lieu (CA-36), Jennifer McClellan (VA-04), Grace Meng (NY-06), Kweisi Mfume (MD-07), Jerry Nadler (NY-12), Grace Napolitano (CA-31), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Delia Ramirez (IL-03), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Adam Smith (WA-09), Darren Soto (FL-09), Shri Thanedar (MI-13), Mark Takano (CA-39), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), David Trone (MD-06), Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL-25), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24).
The letter was endorsed by Community Change Action, Alianza Americas; Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services Inc; National Immigration Project (NIPNLG); Heartfelt Tidbits; Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP); United Church of Christ; Justice and Local Church Ministries; Latin America Working Group Education Fund; Opening Doors International Services, Inc; African Communities Together (ACT); The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA); Resilience Formce, Church Women United, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Immigrant Defenders Law Center, National Lawyers Guild- San Francisco Bay Area, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Center for Popular Democracy Action, Al Otro Lado, Wayne Action for Racial Equality, Jewish Voice for Peace- Atlanta, Une America, Colombia Grassroots Support, Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center, InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia, CASA, American Friend Services Committee, Hope Border Initiative, Asian Americans Advancing Justice AAJC, Fransciscan Network for Migrants, Afro Latino Institute, TPS-DED AAC, New York Immigration Coalition, Immigration Hub, Immigration Equality, United We Dream, Sojourners-SojoAction, Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, MIRA Coalition, Immigrant Children Advocates’ Relief Effort (ICARE), National Council of Jewish Women, Miami Workers Center, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Central American Resource Center, and Strangers No Longer (Michigan).
The full text of the letter can be found here.