WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the Nicaragua Political Prisoner Support Act to support the 222 Nicaraguan political prisoners who were banished by the Ortega dictatorship and are now currently in the United States. This bill would allow the political prisoners to access basic services offered under the Office of Refugee Resettlement like other refugees are eligible to do.
“These Nicaraguans are political leaders who dared to challenge the murderous dictator and try to remove him,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our calls for justice helped free these prisoners. Now we must help them in their next phase of their struggle against the brutal Ortega – Murillo regime.”
“The Nicaraguan government’s decision to unjustly detain, torture, and then expel to the United States 222 Nicaraguans who have spoken out against the Ortega regime is abhorrent,” said Senator Kaine. “This bipartisan bill will help provide these brave Nicaraguans with the assistance they need to settle in the U.S., where they will join generations of Americans who have come to our shores after facing persecution around the world. These Nicaraguans’ first stop in America was Dulles airport, and I’m proud of the Virginia communities that have rallied to their support.”
Companion legislation will be introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20).
On February 9, 2023, 222 political prisoners were granted a 2-year humanitarian parole by the U.S. government after being expelled from Nicaragua. Prior to their release, the group had been arrested and imprisoned on false political charges by the Ortega regime in 2021 for standing up to the oppressive government. During their imprisonment, the group described inhumane conditions and abuse. Since their expulsion, they had their nationality revoked.
After their release, Cassidy hosted a group of the freed prisoners at the U.S. Capitol Building, making Cassidy the first high-level U.S. official they visited once in the United State.