Haitian legislator, US group urge Trump to renew TPS for Haitians

Create: 02/27/2017 - 05:38

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

the Secretary

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

Hurricane Matthew.

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.



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