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Rights groups call for new temporary protected status designation for Nicaraguans

More than 200 human rights groups are asking the Biden administration to reinstate temporary protected status — or TPS — for Nicaraguans.

TPS is given to people from a handful of countries deemed unsafe to return to, because of  crises like natural disaster, war or civil unrest.

In a letter sent to the administration, the groups say that an “extraordinary combination” of socio-political circumstance and environmental disasters have made it unsafe for Nicaraguans to return home.  

“The consolidation of judicial, electoral, and presidential power under the Ortega-Murillo regime, and the brutal repression of any perceived dissenters makes any type of democratic governance impossible. The structural and economic impacts of Category 4 Hurricanes Eta and Iota are still felt to this current moment, and an increasingly contracting economy is cause for concern,” the letter read.

TPS was available for Nicaraguans, but an ongoing court battle has prevented hundreds of thousands of applicants from there and other countries from getting the status. As CBS reports, a federal appeals court agreed to revisit the case this month.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.