As Haitians across the United States worry they may lose protection from deportation, supporters and activists stepped up calls Wednesday for the Trump administration to extend protection for another 18 months.
The rising urgency comes as the community faces an imminent deadline. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has until Tuesday to decide whether he will extend the Temporary Protected Status program — as a broad group of organizations have asked — for Haitians or end the program as his top immigration official recommended last month in a memo.
“Not extending TPS would be devastating to hundreds of thousands of Haitians, and it would set back recovery and rebuilding efforts [in Haiti] for years to come,” said Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton. “It’s a humanitarian decision and should not be part of some broader debate about immigration policy at this moment in time.”
Many fear that the Trump administration’s decision to extend or terminate Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for Haiti will be determined more by immigration reform than considering whether the 58,000 Haitians in the program continue to need protection because conditions in Haiti remain grim.
Photo credit: Al Diaz, Miami Herald staff