NEW YORK (CMC) — A Haitian legislator and a community-based group have
launched a petition urging United States President Donald Trump and the US
Department of Homeland Security to extend Temporary Protected
Status (TPS) for Haitians living illegally in the United States
In the petition released on Saturday, New York City Council Member Dr. Mathieu
Eugene, who represents the 40th Council District in Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn-
based Haitian-American Council for Unity and
Empowerment (HACUE) outlined the challenges facing Haiti including the cholera
outbreak, the devastation from multiple natural disasters and
efforts to stabilize government institutions.
“We, the undersigned, request that the President of the United States and
of the Department of Homeland Security, hereby extend the Temporary Protected
Status (TPS) for Haiti as a humanitarian gesture
that will alleviate the country’s socioeconomic burden and ease its recovery,”
the petition noted.
In an interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), Eugene said the
petition is part of his “ongoing effort to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Haiti
while providing Haitians living abroad the opportunity
to remain in a stable environment.
“Any country in the world, even a rich country, would find it difficult to recover
after several natural disasters,” he said. “I think it makes sense that we, as
elected officials and concerned citizens, advocate and work together to insure
that the American government and Homeland Security grant TPS to the Haitian
“This act will serve as an important gesture of goodwill and sympathy for Haiti as
the country continues to recover and rebuild,” he added.
Last month, New York City Council passed a resolution, introduced by Eugene,
the first Haitian to be elected to the City Council, requesting that the US
Secretary of Homeland Security renew TPS for undocumented Haitian nationals.
Earlier this month, Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke
introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would dramatically
expand the TPS program to include all Haitian nationals who were in the United
States prior to November 4, 2016.
Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th
Congressional District in Brooklyn, told CMC that the bill would grant 18 months
of TPS to every eligible Haitian.
She said TPS for Haitian nationals living in the United States was established
after the January 12, 2010 devastating earthquake in Haiti “to start the process
of recovery and to provide invaluable support in the form of remittances to
family members there.
In November, Clarke had urged the then Obama administration to immediately
halt the deportation of undocumented Haitians, stating that “the majority of the
people DHS intends to remove have not been accused of any crime.”
Clarke, with 13 of her congressional colleagues, had urged then DHS Secretary
Jeh Johnson to suspend the removal of Haitian nationals who have not been
convicted of a serious crime or otherwise present a threat to US national
Earlier, two major Haitian Diaspora groups in New York launched an online
petition requesting that Obama also immediately halt the deportation of
undocumented Haitians in the wake of the massive destruction caused by
The Haiti Renewal Alliance and the United Front of the Haitian Diaspora
launched the petition, saying that they were hoping to build awareness to
support it, which, on receiving 100,000 signatures, will require an official
response from the White House.
In October, Florida Democratic Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, who represents
Fort Lauderdale, sent a letter to Obama, urging him to set a date under Haiti’s
TPS designation that will account for the effects of Hurricane Matthew on the
French-speaking Caribbean country.
On November 22, Johnson said the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
agency, which falls under DHS’ jurisdiction,planned to “significantly expand
removal operations in the coming weeks.”
But, at the time, Johnson said Haitian nationals covered by TPS were unaffected
by the resumption of deportation to the French-speaking Caribbean country.
Johnson said TPS for Haitian nationals was been extended through July 22,
2017, he however expressed concern about the increase in the numbers of
those who had been apprehended on the southern border.