August 13, 2004
US to send home Montserratians

The New York Times has reported this week that the United States Department of Homeland Security is ordering the 292 Montserratians who took refuge in that country in the wake of continued eruptions of the Soufriere to leave by the end of February. {{more}}
As Monsterrat is still a colony of the United Kingdom the majority of Montserratians had chosen to move there but a much smaller number had chosen to move to the United States with relatives, according to the NY Times, mainly to Boston.
The rest of that newspaper report by Nina Bernstein follows:
“Because it was unsafe to send them back after their visitors visas expired, the U.S. government granted the Montserratians ‘’temporary protected status,’’ renewed year by year so they could legally stay and work until the worst was over.
Now, in a twist in immigration politics, the Department of Homeland Security is ordering the 292 Montserratians to leave by the end of February — not because it is safe to go home again, but because it is not going to be safe anytime soon.
‘’The volcanic activity causing the environmental disaster in Montserrat is not likely to cease in the foreseeable future,’’ Homeland Security officials said in a June 25 notice ending Montserratians’ temporary protected status effective Feb. 27, 2005.
‘’Therefore it no longer constitutes a temporary disruption of living conditions that temporarily prevents Montserrat from adequately handling the return of its nationals,’’ the notice said.
The decision has stunned islanders who rebuilt their lives in America from scratch.
‘’It’s devastating,’’ said Sarah Ryner, 59, a public health nurse supervisor who lost her home and career in the eruption’s aftermath and now works night shifts at a New Jersey hospital. ‘I’m just frozen, and my children are the same. We are saying, `What can we do? Where can we go?’ ‘