Today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced his plan to temporarily extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Haitians by only six months. Tiffany Wheatland-Disu, Community Outreach Manager at the NYIC, responded:
"We appreciate that this administration acknowledges the clear and compelling evidence supporting extension of TPS for the more than 55,000 Haitians living lawful, productive lives and contributing over $3 billion to the US economy. However, a mere six-month extension falls far short of what is needed. Assessments as recent as December 2016 indicate that conditions continue to warrant a full 18-month extension. Anything less would would be irresponsible and reckless.
Our government has already failed to extend needed TPS protections to the three West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the wake of the 2015-16 Ebola epidemic. Forcing Haitians to return to a destabilized Haiti will impose a similar fate on the more than 55,000 Haitians currently protected by TPS. We call on Secretary Kelly to make an informed decision, based on the facts on the ground and extend TPS for a full 18 months."
It was in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake that the United States originally granted Haitians TPS, a designation afforded to nationals of countries experiencing humanitarian crisis such as environmental disasters or epidemics which would prevent nationals from returning safely. The dire circumstances in Haiti have only worsened since then. Deporting over 55,000 people back to these conditions will only senselessly uproot families and exacerbate the existing humanitarian crisis in Haiti.”
The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.