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HomeNewsArchivesNews Brief: Bush Administration Denies Protected Status Extension for Montserratians

News Brief: Bush Administration Denies Protected Status Extension for Montserratians

Feb. 25, 2005 — The Bush Administration will not extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that has been granted to Montserratian nationals since 1997. That's according to Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen who announced Friday she was informed of this news by officials of Homeland Security.
In August of 2004 Sen. Lorraine Berry wrote to then Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and Secretary of State Colin Powell in hopes of getting federal authorities to change their minds. (See "Let Montserratians Stay in U.S., Senator Urges").
The TPS status, granted to persons displaced because of the volcano, will expire on Sunday.
"This is very disappointing to me because my colleagues and I, including Rep. Charlie Rangel and Sens. Charles Schumer and Ted Kennedy, have been pressing President Bush and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to reverse the order issued last July, to end TPS for Montserrat nationals," Christensen said in a release Friday. "I was hopeful, when I attended a meeting at the White House last month and brought the matter to the attention of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and also sent her a copy of a letter to President Bush signed by 36 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, that the White House would have precipitated a change of heart."
The end of TPS will mean that the approximately 323 Montserrat nationals living in various parts of the country, including an unspecified number in the Virgin Islands, will have to depart the United States on or before this Sunday, she said.
"We have done everything we could, including sponsor legislation in both the House and U.S. Senate to get the White House and the Department of Homeland Security to change their minds and further extend TPS for Montserratians as they have for other foreign nationals, but our pleas have sadly fallen on deaf ears," Christensen said. "It is still not safe for these people to return to Montserrat and the option of moving to England is not realistic," Christensen said.

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