Renewal of TPS for Nepal: ‘Not Enough Lobbying’

The Queens library event on TPS. (Photo via Vishwanews.com)

The campaign for the renewal of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nepalese in the U.S. has been in full swing for almost a year now. Still, it has not taken the issue to local legislators.

In a community interaction program organized by Queens Library and the Nepalese blog channel, Sampreshan USA, at the Queens Library in Woodside, New York, Mirna Velasquez, who works for Congressman Joseph Crowley (D. – 14th district), revealed that there has not been even a phone call to his office to bring attention to the matter of  TPS renewal for Nepalese.

“We are so surprised that you (Nepalese) have been doing so many programs for the TPS renewal but you are so reluctant to call your district’s Congressman,” she said. ” Now it’s high time you should meet them for this.”

“We are always there to help you for your rights and assist you,” she added.

She also stressed that if enough lobbying is not done soon, it’s likely that Nepal might be in danger of losing its TPS status.

“The Nepalese community is fearful about it,” she said.

Several Nepalese community organizations like the Non-Resident Nepali Association and  Adhikaar have been involved in various campaigns supporting TPS renewal. Still, these haven’t been effective enough to get concerned authorities to get on board with this.

Recently, Congressman Peter T. King, who represents the 2nd district of New York, said that he did not even know that Nepal had TPS status.

“When we went to meet Congressman Peter King, he asked us, ‘Does Nepal have TPS? ‘” said Nepalese media person Shailesh Shrestha. “It completely baffled us.”

“His queries are a signal that we have not done enough,” he added.

While the campaigning for TPS renewal is really aggressive in social media though, it is not enough, participants agreed.

Besides the community efforts, people are also blaming the Nepal government for not being proactive on this.

Kishor Panthi, a journalist based in New York City, who reports about the immigration issues of Nepalese living in the U.S. said, “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should be made aware by the Nepalese government why TPS renewal is needed.”

“If the Nepalese Foreign Ministry, Nepalese Embassy in the U.S., and U.S. Embassy in Nepal take some initiative, this campaign will be more meaningful,” he said.

At the community interaction program, legal practitioners also urged everyone to be more aggressive in the campaign.  “TPS has helped Nepalese to work, reside in the U.S. legally so we should all come together to help ourselves,” said Nepalese American lawyer Girija Gautam.

The current designation of TPS expires on June 24 but the decision to extend or not will be on April 25.

The DHS granted TPS status to qualifying immigrants from Nepal on June 24, 2015, after the devastating earthquake in April 2015 in Nepal.  Eighteen-month TPS status was extended once. More than 9,000 are TPS recipients.

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