Miami – Thousands of Hispanics are stuck in "double legal limbo" in the United States by being unable to obtain their immigration documentation in this country or their identity papers from their nations of origin, activists told Efe.
Representatives of the communities of several Latin American countries said that they have tried fruitlessly for years to get the governments of their home nations to implement mechanisms to issue identity cards to citizens who live abroad.
"The governments don't want to give us anything. In the case of Nicaragua, they have no excuse nowadays to deny us that right," said Jose Zuñiga, president of the Miami-based Inter American Coalition for Democracy.
His organization went to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in May to denounce the situation of Nicaraguans in the United States and to request preventive measures.
In the complaint, they said that Managua is violating the human rights of "more than a million" Nicaraguan expats by denying them their identity documents, and thus they will not be able to participate in their country's upcoming presidential elections.
"Our demand is not only against the current government. We've fought for our right for some time," Zuñiga said. "We Nicaraguans abroad have done everything within our power and nothing happened, so therefore we're taking the case" to the commission.
Salvadorans also are facing problems in obtaining their country's identity document after in June their government temporarily suspended the issuing of such documents and later promised they would resume the process in about 30 days.
"That did not happen. It's beyond belief that they are violating the human rights of a third of their citizens on the basis of cost-effectiveness," Luis Montes Brito, the former consul general of El Salvador in Miami, told Efe.
The former diplomat called the decision a "reversal for the Salvadoran diaspora for several thousand of the 3 million (Salvadorans abroad) to remain undocumented in their country of origin and undocumented in their destination country."
El Salvador's national population registry announced in June that the contract with the firm tasked with issuing the documents had lapsed and it was seeking alternatives to expedite issuing the IDs.
In July, it signed an agreement with the Salvadoran foreign ministry to have the documents issued at diplomatic missions.
"However, this is not being done because to do it requires expanding their offices or renting others, hiring personnel and training them and buying equipment. The agreement was a media solution," said Montes Brito.
He said that the official ID is required to carry out financial, commercial and legal transactions.
Thousands of Venezuelan expats cannot vote in their country's elections, travel or receive remittances from relatives due to lack of official ID and if they don't have legal immigration status in the United States their situation is even more complicated, activists said.