Cassandra and Diaz-Balart noted that TPS recipients must have clean records and are largely strong contributors to the US economy. Diaz-Balart’s district has the highest concentration of Nicaraguans in the country, and he worries that Florida’s economy could be hurt by losing them.
“We live with fear, waiting for January to come,” Cassandra told CNN in an interview conducted in Spanish. “We don’t want to stay here illegally; it also frightens us to return to our country because of how bad the situation is. The police that are supposed to protect the people are instead the ones that are killing and assassinating the students that are the future for the development of my country.”
Cassandra’s fears are well founded, said Eric L. Olson, deputy director of the nonpartisan Wilson Center’s Latin American Program.
“It would be speculative on my part, but one could say (returners) might be viewed with suspicion for their time in the United States, since the relationship is pretty fraught at the moment,” Olson said, noting that many Nicaraguans fled during previous waves of political unrest and were largely opposed to Ortega’s movement.
“The Nicaraguans that would be returning would be returning to a very dangerous and unstable situation, and the fear is it might create more migration and more instability in the region,” Olson said. “This is far from a resolved situation. … There is still a very serious conflict going on.”
Cassandra says she always admired the US because of its commitment to democracy, and added that it seems hypocritical to send her and her counterparts back to a country run by a repressive leader the US has condemned.
“It is the world leader in democracy, that so much criticizes dictatorships and defends human rights, and now it wants to send us back to another dictatorship, where there is a great political insecurity,” she said. “We are at the point of a civil war in the country. So I see it as inconceivable that they’d send us there.”