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James McCamenth’s Recommendation for Shortened TPS Contradicts Previous Report

May 5, 2017 - 08:02

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s current 18-month designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians, which allows over 50,000 Haitians who have been residing legally in the United States, will expire on July 22. Last December, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported that many problems continued in Haiti, including housing shortages, a cholera epidemic, limited medical care, economic concerns, food insecurity and security threats, which made it unsuitable for Haitians to return to their earthquake-ridden country. The USCIS acting director James McCament’s recommendation that the U.S. government end TPS for thousands of Haitian nationals by next January is a departure from the agency’s previous stance. Extending TPS for those Haitians living in the U.S. in the past seven years is the right thing to do. As McCament’s predecessor, Leon Rodriguez, said, “…it usually is in the best interest of the U.S. to protect refugees.”

Add your voice: endorse this letter, which will be sent to both President Donald Trump and Secretary John Kelly (endorse HERE). Call your representatives and senators to urge them to support TPS for Haitians. For more information on TPS extension, please visit our website.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE to read the full article.

Haitians in U.S. Hopeful as Trump Administration Weighs Sending Them Home

Ben Remaly, NBC News

May 5, 2017

Farah Larrieux left Port-au-Prince, Haiti for Miramar, Florida years ago because she felt her homeland was “too small” for her dreams — hopes that are now in limbo as the Trump administration weighs whether to allow roughly 50,000 Haitians in the U.S. temporarily to remain.

The Trump administration must soon decide whether to renew “Temporary Protected Status” for at least 50,000 Haitians living in the U.S. The Obama administration granted the protective immigration status following the devastating earthquake in 2010 that ravaged the island-nation, killing over 300,000 and displacing more than 1.5 million.

The designation allows Haitians to remain in the U.S. until conditions in their homeland improve. Without that status, thousands of Haitians may face returning to stark-conditions in Haiti.

The 18-month protective status has been renewed three times since it was originally granted by the Obama administration in 2010. The director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services James McCament recommended in April that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly not fully extend the designation for Haitians living in America because he said conditions have significantly improved since the earthquake.

That status is now slated to expire on July 22.

….

Click HERE to read the full article.

TPS Extension Is in Both Haitian and U.S. Interests

May 3, 2017 - 11:38

Marleine Bastien, the Executive Director of Haitian Women of Miami, discusses the importance of  extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for over 50,000 legally residing in the U.S. In December 2016, former Secretary of State John Kerry recommended that TPS be extended for Haitians due to continued instability in their home country. However, in what seems to be a drastic departure from this prior recommendation, the acting director of USCIS, James McCament, recently opined that circumstances in Haiti have improved and have not warranted the full extension of TPS. In reality, Haiti still has many obstacles to overcome in its path to recovery from the January 2010 Earthquake, including destruction from Hurricane Matthew, a deadly cholera epidemic and growing food and housing insecurity. Haiti will be unable to support 50,000 dislocated Haitians, and communities across the U.S., including Disney World and Little Haiti, FL, would suffer from the loss of many prominent and active community members.

Click HERE for the full video and transcript.

More calls for TPS extension here.

Up to 55,000 Haitians Face Deportation If Trump Refuses to Extend Temporary Protected Status

Democracy Now!

May 3, 2017

The Haitian-American community is now facing a looming deportation deadline. Up to 55,000 Haitians could be forcefully repatriated to their fragile, struggling homeland if the Trump administration refuses to extend a temporary protected status that has allowed them to legally reside and work in the U.S. after an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010. Haitians’ temporary protected status, or TPS, is set to expire on July 22. Immigrant rights advocates say Haiti is still reeling from Hurricane Matthew, which, in October 2016, destroyed the country’s southwest peninsula. The hurricane killed more than 1,000 people and decimated villages and farmland. Haiti is also suffering from a devastating cholera epidemic that erupted after the earthquake. For more, we speak with Marleine Bastien, executive director of Haitian Women of Miami.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Tampa, Florida. The Sunshine State, particularly southern Florida, is home to a very large, vibrant Haitian population, with many living in the Miami neighborhood of Little Haiti. Well, the Haitian-American community is now facing a looming deportation deadline. Up to 55,000 Haitians could be forcefully repatriated to their fragile, struggling homeland if the Trump administration refuses to extend a temporary protected status that’s allowed them to legally reside and work in the U.S. after an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010. Haitians’ temporary protected status, known as TPS, is set to expire July 22nd.

Click HERE for the full video and transcript.

Cholera Justice Network Accepts HSNNE Award

May 1, 2017 - 11:15

IJDH Executive Director Brian Concannon and Staff Attorney Beatrice Lindstrom accept the Zanmi Ayiti Award, which was awarded to the Cholera Justice Network in recognition of their participation in the successful campaign against impunity and their support for justice for the victims of cholera in Haiti.

IJDH and BAI have demonstrated years of commitment to pursuing legal remedies for cholera victims, advocating for Haitians’ rights, mobilizing individuals, and putting pressure on the United Nations to admit their responsibility and take action. Six years after a contingent United Nations (UN) peacekeepers from Nepal introduced cholera into Haiti and created a deadly epidemic by contaminating the country’s water supply, then Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon admitted their role and announced a New Approach to prevent further infections and give reparations to victims.

Over 10,000 Haitians have died from cholera, and thousands have been battling the deadly disease. Since the UN’s apology, IJDH and BAI have continued to press UN to assist in eradicating cholera in the country. The organizations will continue to accompany the victims until the UN’s promises are met and cholera is no longer a threat for the Haitian population.

 

The New York Times: Extend America’s Welcome to Haitians Again

May 1, 2017 - 08:01

In less than three months, 50, 000 Haitian nationals could be deported to their native Haiti if the Trump administration doesn’t take action to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for them. The New York Times continues to join the many voices to urge Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly to extend TPS for those Haitians who have been living in the U.S. legally for the past seven years. The newspaper also criticizes the USCIS Director James McCament for his recommendation that the U.S. end the TPS for Haitians. The New York Times Editorial Board wrote that sending thousands of Haitians back to Haiti could worsen an already “desperate situation” in Haiti. They added, Secretary Kelly “should extend America’s welcome to the Haitians once again” instead.

The editorial is shown below in its entirety. Click HERE for the original article.

More calls for TPS extension here.

Don’t Send 50,000 Back to Fragile Haiti

Editorial Board, New York Times

April 29, 2017

Tens of thousands of Haitians living in the United States are facing an ominous deadline. The temporary protected status that has allowed them to live and work here legally since 2010 — the year an earthquake devastated their country and left them unable to return safely home — is set to expire on July 22. Unless the homeland security secretary, John Kelly, decides to renew it, about 50,000 Haitians will lose their welcome here and be vulnerable to deportation.

A reasonable person might say: The United States couldn’t do that. Haiti has made only a fitful recovery from the quake, which all but destroyed the national government and left hundreds of thousands homeless, and ensuing disasters have deepened the country’s misery. Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 ravaged Haiti’s southwest peninsula, killing more than a thousand people and laying waste to villages and farmland. A cholera epidemic that erupted after the earthquake has not been subdued.

These acute crises, laid atop chronic poverty and political turmoil, make Haiti a fragile place. The sudden return of tens of thousands of expatriates would be yet another damaging blow. Better those Haitians remain in the United States, where they can be safe and work and send money home, and not further burden their traumatized homeland.

That is a reasonable conclusion. But not everyone in the Trump administration recognizes it. The acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, James McCament, wrote to Mr. Kelly this month recommending that temporary protected status be ended next January.

“Although Hurricane Matthew recently caused a deterioration of conditions in Haiti’s southwest peninsula,” he wrote, “over all, circumstances in the country have continued on an upward trajectory since the 2010 earthquake.”

Give that man a prize for bureaucratic understatement: “Deterioration of conditions” is a brutally antiseptic way to describe a Category 4 hurricane that left so much death, sickness and hunger in its wake. In fairness, Mr. McCament’s memo does acknowledge many of the other afflictions that would argue for temporary protected status, including homelessness, gender-based violence, food insecurity, deep deficiencies in sanitation and health care, and a weak government.

And yet it reached the wrong conclusion. Only in December, in President Barack Obama’s administration, the State Department examined the same circumstances and recommended that the Haitians be allowed to remain.

Temporary protected status is where United States law joins practicality and humanitarian compassion. Mr. Kelly may make his decision by May 23, 60 days before the expiration date. Before he decides to send them back — and, given the Trump administration’s coldblooded approach to destitute migrants the world over, who knows what he will do? — we hope he considers what advantage there could possibly be in sowing greater instability in Haiti, deepening its poverty and subjecting so many people to such pointless cruelty. Rather than make a desperate situation intolerably worse, he should extend America’s welcome to the Haitians once again.

____

Click HERE for the original article.

Thousands of Haitians Are Living under Fear As the Deadline for TPS Extension Looms

May 1, 2017 - 07:29

More than 50,000 Haitians could possibly be sent back to a country still recovering from a series of natural disasters. Lawmakers from both parties, U.S. newspapers and human rights and faith-based organizations are calling on President Donald Trump to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for those Haitian nationals who have been living legally in the United States for the past seven years. According to reports the Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly is expected to make a final decision regarding the TPS extension in the next coming two weeks. We encourage you to call your representatives and senators and tell them to support TPS extension for Haitians. Contrary to the USCIS acting director U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services James McCament stated in his report, things have not improved enough in Haiti for the U.S. to end TPS for Haitians.  That is why lawmakers, media, human rights and faith groups asking President Trump to show compassion by extending “America’s welcome once again to Haitians.”

You can read the full article HERE.

50,000 Haitians face being deported by Trump back to country still reeling from natural disasters

By Andrew Buncombe, Independent

May 1, 2017

The proposal has been criticised by Democrats and Republicans alike


More than 1,000 people were killed when Hurricane Matthew struck last October AP

More than 50,000 Haitians are at risk of being deported to a country still reeling from a series of natural disasters, after Donald Trump’s immigration agency recommended ending their temporary right to live in the US.

Up to 55,000 Haitians are living in America under so-called temporary protected status (TPS), initially granted to them after the 2010 earthquake, that killed an estimated 150,000 people.

The status has been updated every 18 months, as Haiti has confronted the challenges of a cholera epidemic triggered by UN peacekeepers, a sexual abuse scandal involving those peacekeepers and political uncertainty following the postponing of elections that eventually saw Jovenel Moïse become president.

But James McCament, acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, has recommended Mr Trump end their starus. He said there should be a temporary, six-month extension to allow a period of “orderly transition” but that people should then return.

The revelation, first reported by the Miami Herald, has triggered intense concern among the Haitian community in the US, and their supporters.

“Anxiety is extremely high. They are calling me and asking me what they should do,” Emmanuel Depas, a former president of the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York, told The Independent.

“The temporary status is not necessarily a path to a green card, but it gives people the right to work here.”

Campaigners said the threat of deportation could result in the splitting up of families, if the parents of children born in the US were forced to leave. Others have questioned whether Haiti, where more than 1,000 people were killed last October by Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful storm to make landfall there since 1964, is able to handle the return of so many people.

You can read the full article HERE.

What Happened at the Border: Analyzing Previous Interactions with Immigration Authorities and the Impact on Future Relief

April 30, 2017 - 21:35

The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) invites you to a free webinar. The panelists will discuss the consequences of prior orders by the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration Judges; and, immigration or criminal enforcement in illegal entry/reentry. They will identify key questions to ask clients, and review common scenarios to help you understand the law.

WHEN:

Thursday, May 4, 2017

2:00 pm Eastern / 1:00 pm Central / 12:00 pm Mountain / 11:00 am Pacific

WHO:

The panelists are Jodi Goodwin, Law Office of Jodi Goodwin; Michelle Saenz-Rodriguez, Saenz-Rodriguez and Associates; and, Erica Schommer, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, St. Mary’s University School of Law.

The moderator is Meredith Linsky, Director, Commission on Immigration, American Bar Association.

To register, visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2393066549197438210. Your registration will generate a confirmation email with information on how to join the webinar.

If you have questions, please email us at support@immigrationadvocates.org.

50,000 Face Uncertain Futures in the US & Haiti as TPS Deadline Approaches

April 29, 2017 - 10:45

As Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for thousands of Haitians approaches its deadline for extension, fear and uncertainty have become daily realities for 50,000 Haitians legally residing in the U.S. TPS expiration would significantly affect communities both within the U.S. and in Haiti, where friends and families depend on remittances sent back from the U.S. As the New York Times stated, sending thousands of Haitian nationals back to Haiti could also worsen the already “desperate situation” in the country. Additionally, Haiti is still recovering from a recent hurricane that ruined the southern part of the country, a cholera outbreak and the devastating 2010 earthquake. The current situation in the country is still precarious. That is why U.S. lawmakers from both parties, newspapers and U.S. citizens continue to urge  the Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to extend TPS for Haitians who have been living in the U.S. for the past seven years.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

More calls for TPS extension here.

Will the US try to send 50,000 people back to Haiti?

Joseph Stepansky, Al Jazeera

April 29, 2017

Brooklyn, New York – When Jean, a 28-year-old Haitian living in Florida, first came to the US, he was afraid to live in a high-rise building.

It was residual fear, he said, from the 2010 earthquake he survived in Port-au-Prince.

“I had just finished rehearsal, singing and dancing, because I’m an opera singer, and then it happened,” said Jean, who did not want to disclose his last name.

“At the time, I was in an old wooden house and half of it went down … It was so traumatising, I couldn’t even cry right away. Everything went white.”

After a day-long walk through the urban wreckage, around bodies and anguished fellow citizens, Jean finally reached his house and reunited with his sister.

“My mom was in the US, but wasn’t established yet. My sister and I went to Santo Domingo. We slept in the airport before we finally got a flight,” he said.

Click HERE for the full article.

National and International Human Rights Organizations Call on Haiti’s Government to Renew the Mandate  of the UN’s Independent Expert on Human Rights 

April 27, 2017 - 08:56

The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and other international human rights organizations sent a letter to the Haitian government demanding that it renew the mandate of  Gustavo Gallon, the  United Nations’ Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti. The organizations stated in the letter that they regretted that the Haitian government rejected a proposal to extend Gallon’s mandate for a one-year period. They said that they hope that Haiti’s officials will consider the recommendations made by Gallon to advance human rights  in the country.

A French version of this letter can be found HERE.

Take Action: Join Effort to Support TPS for Haitians

April 26, 2017 - 12:46

As many as 50, 0000 Haitians who have been living legally in the United States for the past seven years could be deported to Haiti if the Trump Administrations does not extend TPS for them before the expiration date in July.

Take Action TodayUrge Congress and DHS to keep families together and protect Haitians by extending TPS for at least another 18 months.

Take Action for Haitians Facing Deportation

For Faith Leaders: Haiti TPS Extension Faith Orgs/Leaders Letter

Sixteen Democratic Senators Write Secretaries Rex Tillerson and John Kelly Urging them to Extend TPS for 50,00 Haitians 

April 26, 2017 - 06:48

On July 22, 2017, as many as 50, 000 Haitians could be sent back to their earthquake-ridden country if the Trump administration fails to take action to extend Temporary Protected Status for them.  Sixteen democratic senators, including, the Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Diane Feinstein and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick J. Leahy wrote Secretaries John Kelly and Rex Tillerson urging them to extend TPS for Haitians who have been living legally in the United States for the past seven years.

The Senators pointed out in their letter that the situation in Haiti has not improved enough to end TPS for Haitian nationals. They wrote:

In light of continued difficult conditions in Haiti, we request that you extend the existing Temporary Protected Statu s (TPS) for certain Haitian nationals currently living in the United States, which is set to expire on July 22, 2017. An extension is necessary to allow Haiti to fully recover from the damage of the January 2010 earthquake and October 2016 hurricane, and to provide security to Haitians living in the United States.

Recently, U.S. Senators and Representatives from both parties sent to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly urging him to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Additionally, several major U.S. newspapers are calling on President Donald Trump to show compassion for Haitians extending TPS for them.

Read the full article HERE.

Senators Plead with Trump Administration to Let 50,000 Haitians Stay

Alan Gomez , USA TODAY

April 26, 2017

Cholera Marie Louse Valentin weeps in front of her home shattered by Hurricane Matthew in Morne la Source, Haiti, on Oct. 9, 2016.(Photo: Patrick Farrell, AP)

Sixteen senators urged the Trump administration Wednesday to continue immigration protections for 50,000 Haitians living in the U.S. because of severe hardships back home.

The senators, all Democrats, sent a letter responding to a recommendation by the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to end “temporary protected status” for Haitians by January. The recommendation was first reported by USA TODAY.

The U.S. government has granted such protections to foreigners from 13 countries hammered by natural disasters, famine or war.

In the letter written by Sen. Bob Mendenez, D-N.J., to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the senators said Haiti still hasn’t recovered from the devastating 2010 earthquake and last year’s Hurricane Matthew.

The temporary protection program was created for foreigners “when extraordinary conditions in their home country pose a serious threat to personal safety,” wrote the senators, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “Given Haiti’s many challenges, the United States’ focus should be to prioritize disaster assistance and recovery, not to return Haitian nationals to a country lacking the capacity to support them.”

“More than seven years after the devastating earthquake and resulting humanitarian crisis, Haiti has yet to recover,” the senators wrote.

Kelly, who has the final say, has not decided on the Haitians’ fate yet, Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said.

James McCament, acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, wrote on April 10 that “conditions in Haiti no longer support its designation” for temporary protections. He suggested extending protections set to end July 22 through next January.

McCament wrote that 96% of the people who lost their homes during the earthquake are no longer living in temporary camps. But an agency report in December said that still leaves 55,000 people in temporary camps, and many who left were either evicted or moved back into their damaged homes.

The senators’ letter highlighted the difficulties that remain.

Read the full article HERE.

Walt Disney Co. Supports TPS Extension

April 25, 2017 - 09:24

Allowing TPS to expire would affect communities across the United States, including the “happiest place on Earth.” Approximately 500 Disney employees will face deportation if their temporary protected status, a designation that allows more than 50,000 Haitians to legally reside in the U.S., is not renewed. Both Disney and Unite Here, the union representing many of the workers, support TPS extension; in a statement, Walt Disney Co. lauded the 500 workers’ integral roles in, and long-term commitment to, the Disney community and stated that the current situation in Haiti renders TPS extension necessary.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

Hundreds of Haitian Disney employees may have to leave U.S.

Sandra Pedicini, Orlando Sentinel

April 25, 2017

About 500 Walt Disney World employees could be affected by a federal immigration agency’s recommendation that the United States soon end temporary protections for about 50,000 Haitians.

Tens of thousands of Haitians in the United States when a massive earthquake struck in 2010 were invited to apply for temporary protected status. That has been extended several times because of the island nation’s woes including Hurricane Matthew, a cholera epidemic and political turmoil.

On Thursday, USA Today reported Citizen and Immigration Services’ acting director James McCament was recommending the U.S. end the temporary protections by next January, saying conditions there have improved.

Both Disney and Unite Here, a union that represents many of the company’s workers, say the protections should be extended.

Click HERE for the original article.

Boston Globe Calling on President Trump to Keep His Word by Extending TPS for Haitians

April 24, 2017 - 09:17

U.S. newspapers continue to press on the Trump administration to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 50, 000 Haitians who are living  in the United States legally. In its April 24 editorial, the Boston Globe calls on President Donald Trump to keep his words. Last fall during a campaign rally in Miami’s Little Haiti, then candidate Trump told Haitian-Americans that he wanted “to be their biggest champion” whether they voted for him or not. Additionally, the Boston Globe countered the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, James McCament’s report in which he stated that “things have improved enough in Haiti to end Temporary Protected Status for Haitians.” The paper reminded Mr. McCament that “Conditions have not improved — if anything, the situation is more dire.” As many news outlets already did, the Boston Globe urged the Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly to prolong TPS for Haitians.

Read the full article HERE.

Renew Protected Status for HaitiansMarie Louise Valentin wept in front of her destroyed home in October 2016 after Hurricane Matthew battered the island.PATRICK FARELL/MIAMI HERALD/AP/FILE Editorial, The Boston GlobeApril 24, 2017

THERE WAS AT least one immigrant group that President Trump didn’t demonize relentlessly while he was campaigning for the White House.

“Whether you vote for me or not, I really want to be your biggest champion,” he said to a group of Haitian-Americans in Miami’s Little Haiti last fall.

Now the Haitian community is about to find out how serious Trump really was. In July, about 50,000 Haitians living in the United States will see their temporary protected status expire. The designation is part of a federal immigration relief program granted to citizens of certain countries with deteriorating conditions caused by armed conflicts, natural disasters, or health epidemics. As long as the designation remains in place, the Haitians it covers are protected from deportation and issued work permits.Read the full article HERE.

U.S. Residents Under TPS Face Uncertainty as Deadline for Extension Approaches

April 23, 2017 - 06:35

What does life look like today for the tens of thousands of Haitians currently residing in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS)? The vast majority have resided in the U.S. for 7.5 to 15 years, and many have launched their own businesses, started families and created new lives; they overcame obstacles, such as the devastating earthquake, that initially rendered a return to Haiti dangerous and inhumane. However, the conditions in Haiti have not improved enough to warrant deportations, and the expiration of TPS would only exacerbate problems in Haiti. Haiti would lose an estimated $1.3 billion in annual remittances that are sent from U.S. residents back to family and friends. Additionally, many U.S.-born children would be forced to relocate to a country which they have never seen and in which they cannot speak the language. At this point, a return to Haiti would still be dangerous and inhumane, and TPS must be extended.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article and video.

Haitians fear protected status expiration will lead to deportations

Mike Clary, Sun Sentinel

April 23, 2017

In the dozen years she has lived in the U.S., Miramar resident Farah Larrieux has built a successful career as a bilingual television host and Haitian-American community activist.

Elizabeth Fabien, a former Pembroke Pines resident now living in Orlando, enjoys a comfortable life centered around her business as a financial planner.

And Jean — a Miami-Dade man who asked that his last name not be used because he fears immigration action against him — has put his professional career on hold to care for his two American-born children, ages 11 and 7. One child has special needs, and Jean is a stay-at-home dad.

But all three could soon find themselves uprooted from their American lives and back in their native Haiti if the Trump administration does not renew the special immigration status that has allowed about 50,000 Haitians to stay in the U.S. as their impoverished Caribbean nation coped with a devastating 2010 earthquake. It expires July 22.

Click HERE for the original article and video.

Extending Temporary Protected Status for over 50,000 Is the Right Thing to Do

April 22, 2017 - 09:03

Several U.S. newspapers are calling on the Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly to show compassion by extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for over 50, 000 Haitians who have been living in the United States legally. The editorial boards of those papers argued that sending thousands of Haitians back to Haiti, an earthquake-ravaged country, will be a “travesty.” They also pointed out that thousands of Haitians are still calling shelters and makeshift tents their homes seven years after the earthquake devastated the western part of the country. Finally, they added that thousands of Haitians are still battling the curable cholera epidemic introduced by United Nations peacekeepers soon after the Jan. 10 earthquake.

Read the full article HERE.

Let them stay: U.S. must show compassion to threatened Haitians

Editorial, New York Daily News

April 22, 2017

When an earthquake devastated Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, killing a quarter million people, the United States channeled its better angels and let 50,000 Haitian nationals residing here stay until the catastrophe on the island was over.

This Temporary Protected Status applies only to people who obeyed the law. Anyone who committed a crime was subject to deportation.

The problem is that instead of ending when the 18-month period of Temporary Protected Status expired, Haiti’s catastrophe has multiplied.

Which means, America, in the person of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, must react with compassion and common sense and keep the program going by overriding the wrongheaded plan of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to send these folks away in January.

The persuasive case the extension is the hard-luck post-earthquake history of Haiti.

In October 2010, UN peacekeepers from Nepal caused a nation-wide cholera epidemic by discharging their latrines into Haiti’s largest river. A pestilence unknown in Haiti for more than a century spread unchecked in a country with primitive wastewater systems already stricken by the earthquake, killing 10,000 and sickening a million.

Washington understood that forcing 50,000 Haitians here to return under those conditions made no sense and has kept the Temporary Protected Status in place since the 2010 earthquake.

Poor Haiti was hit with yet another Biblical-level disaster last October when Hurricane Matthew, a Category 5 storm, slammed ashore, killing more than 1,000 people, destroying infrastructure and crops and threatening malnutrition.

Republicans and Democrats, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Chuck Schumer of New York, have written to Kelly imploring him to do right by the Haitians here and extend their temporary stay, regardless of what immigration services bureaucrats think.

These people are guests, granted temporary repose until their home country can get back on its feet. Homeland Security knows where each man, woman and child is, and any noncitizen is subject to deportation if her or she commits a crime.

Be a good neighbor. Say yes, Secretary Kelly.

Read the full article HERE.

Trump Administration May Deport 50, 000 Haitians By Next January

April 22, 2017 - 06:20

This is despite lawmakers from both parties writing Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly to extend Temporary Protected Status for over 50, 000 Haitians who are legally living in the United States. Secretary Kelly is contemplating this move based on the report written by the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, James McCament in which he stated that things have improved enough in Haiti to end Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. It is important to point out that over half a million Haitians are still calling shelters and makeshift tents their homes seven years after the earthquake ravaged the western part of the country. In addition, thousands of Haitians are still battling the curable cholera epidemic introduced by United Nations peacekeepers right after the Jan. 10 earthquake.
Read the original article HERE.

The United States may be about to inflict a massive hardship on Haiti
Roosevelt Dume, 37, left, sits in a hospital in Port-a-Piment, Haiti, after hiking out of the town of Randel with his 3-year-old son, Roodley, right foreground, who was suffering from cholera in October. (Joshua Partlow/The Washington Post)By Editorial BoardThe Washington Post
April 22, 2017

POVERTY IN Haiti, by far the most destitute country in the Americas, is so extreme that it defies most Americans’ imaginations. Nearly 60 percent of Haitians live on less than $2.42 per day; a quarter of Haitians scratch out a living on half that amount. That the United States would intentionally inflict a sudden, massive and unsustainable hardship on such a country — one already reeling from a series of natural and man-made disasters — defies common sense, morality and American principles. Yet that is exactly what Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly is now considering.

Incredibly, an agency under Mr. Kelly’s purview has recommended that some 50,000 Haitians now living legally in the United States be expelleden masse next January. If Mr. Kelly approves the expulsion, it would be a travesty. It would, at a stroke, compound the humanitarian suffering in a nation of 10.4 million already reeling from a huge earthquake in 2010, an ongoing cholera epidemic that is the world’s worst and a devastating hurricane that swept the island only last fall.

The recommendation from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, involves Haitians who have lived in the United States since the 2010 earthquake and have been allowed to remain legally since then on humanitarian grounds, under a series of 18-month renewals.

Now, the agency proposes to revoke the “temporary protected status,” or TPS, under which those Haitians live and work in the United States, a move that would trigger an exodus into a country ill-equipped to absorb them. It would also sever a major source of income on which several hundred thousand Haitians depend — namely, cash sent back to the island by their relatives working in the United States.

In December, the same immigration agency now urging expulsion issued a report saying that the horrendous conditions that prompted the TPS designation in 2010 persist, including a housing shortage, the cholera epidemic, scanty medical care, food insecurity and economic wreckage.

Haiti’s fundamental economic situation is unchanged since that report. The effects of Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm when it hit Haiti last October, were particularly devastating, leading to catastrophic losses to agriculture, livestock, fishing and hospitals in rural areas, plus nearly 4,000 schools damaged or destroyed, according to the World Bank. The value of those losses is estimated at $1.9 billion, more than a fifth of Haiti’s gross domestic product; the storm left more than a million Haitians in need of humanitarian aid.

In addition to Haitians, citizens of a dozen other war-torn, poverty-stricken and disaster-struck countries living in the United States have been granted temporary protective status, including El Salvador and Nicaragua, both of which are richer than Haiti. For the United States, the hemisphere’s richest country, to saddle Haiti, the poorest, with what would amount to a staggering new burden would be cruel and gratuitous. It may also be self-defeating. It’s hardly unthinkable that a sudden infusion of 50,000 jobless people could trigger instability in a nation with a long history of upheavals that often washed up on U.S. shores. Food for thought, Mr. Kelly.

Read the original article HERE.

Women Impregnated by Peacekeepers Need UN Cooperation, but Met with Silence

April 21, 2017 - 10:33

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) is representing Haitian women who were impregnated, and left without child support payments, by United Nations peacekeepers. The women face housing and food shortages, struggling to make ends meet for their families. However, the UN has thus far been uncooperative in the cases and withheld results of DNA tests administered to some of the women. UN cooperation is crucial to the success of these cases and in order to help the women and their families to meet their basic needs.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

Haitian mothers claim UN unresponsive over support for peacekeeper children

Rebecca Ratcliffe, The Guardian

April 21, 2017

The UN has been accused of refusing to cooperate with a human rights group that is pursuing child support payments for women left pregnant by its peacekeeping forces.

Lawyers representing 10 women in Haiti plan to pursue child support cases through civil action, but say they need the UN’s assistance to proceed because most of the men involved are no longer in the country.

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), a legal firm in Haiti, wrote to the UN in August requesting the results of DNA tests administered to some of the women. Mario Joseph, managing attorney at BAI, said the letter, sent through Haiti’s foreign ministry, has been met with silence.

“[Life for the women] is really terrible,” said Joseph. “We’ve got more than six who live in the south of Haiti; Hurricane Matthew destroyed the south. Some of them don’t have any housing, they tried to go to relatives and they begged to get food for the baby.”

The UN stabilisation mission in Haiti (Minustah) said in a statement that it is in contact with the foreign affairs ministry regarding the cases and is awaiting further details in relation to one of the women.

Click HERE for the original article.

AILA Gravely Concerned by Reports that USCIS Recommends Ending Protections for Haitian Nationals

April 21, 2017 - 08:21

 April 21, 2017

CONTACTS:George Tzamaras
202-507-7649
gtzamaras@aila.orgBelle Woods
202-507-7675
bwoods@aila.org

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) expressed grave concern regarding reports that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is recommending that the United States end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals in January 2018. AILA President William A. Stock stated, “In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake’s devastating impact on Haitian infrastructure, the U.S. government offered temporary relief to Haitian nationals while they worked to rebuild their country. Since then, the country has continued to be ravaged by disease and political instability, which have been exacerbated by limited access to potable water, food, and medical services, and a lack of adequate housing. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew ripped through Haiti, further damaging the already fragile island nation. It is impossible to reconcile the notion that our government would consider ending in a few short months TPS for Haitians with the reality of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in a country that is still reeling from the effects of natural disaster.”

Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director, noted, “The provision of a safe haven to those who would face dire conditions if forced to return to their home countries is fundamental to U.S. humanitarian policy. The bottom line is that conditions in Haiti have not improved to an extent that would remotely justify the end of TPS. The elimination of TPS for Haiti will not only create immense hardships for close to 47,000 Haitian individuals who have lived in the United States under the protection of this program for more than 7 years, it will also impact their children, many of whom are U.S. citizens, and their families back home, who rely on remittances for their basic needs. There is bipartisan support for extending Haiti TPS and it is not too late for DHS to act. Extending TPS for Haiti is simply the right thing to do.”

###The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Allowing TPS Expiration for Haitians May Signal Future of Trump Administration

April 21, 2017 - 07:41

Recent recommendations from the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to end TPS by January have shocked many who understand the instability that still affects tens of thousands in Haiti. Currently, +40,000 Haitians live in makeshift shelter or tents, the country is recovering from damage to much of its infrastructure, and the southern regions suffer from a severe food and housing shortage in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. After visiting Haiti and seeing the situation there, politicians have urged President Trump and DHS Secretary Kelly to renew TPS. However, many now fear that these warnings will go unheeded by the Trump administration as it approaches the July 22 deadline for extension.

Part of the article is shown below. Click HERE for the original article.

Tens of thousands of Haitians could be sent back to Haiti if Trump agency has its way

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

April 21, 2017

The Trump administration is recommending sending tens of thousands of Haitians back to their homeland because it believes conditions have significantly improved in the disaster-prone, poverty-stricken nation.

But the move comes as more than 40,000 Haitians continue to call makeshift shelters and tents homes — seven years after Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake — and as severe hunger and housing crises plague the country’s southern region six months after a deadly Hurricane Matthew wiped out roads, home and farmland.

“If they send everyone back to Haiti, they might as well be sending us to die,” said Cadeus Chaleus, 70, who after 16 years of living as an undocumented immigrant in Miami has spent the past seven years living without fear of deportation. “Despite what they say, things have not improved at home.”

Click HERE for the original article.

USCIS Director Recommends Ending Temporary Protected Status for Haitians

April 20, 2017 - 15:05

For months, advocates and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have been urging extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians. TPS was first granted in 2010 after an earthquake ravaged Haiti and it has been constantly extended since then since conditions in Haiti haven’t improved enough to send people back. Now, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services has recommended that the Secretary of Homeland Security not extend the TPS deadline. Continued advocacy is needed to make sure that this recommendation is not heeded!

Part of the article is below. Read the full text here.

Learn more about TPS and calls for extension.

Trump immigration agency wants to kick 50,000 Haitians out of the USA

Alan Gomez, USA Today

April 20, 2017

President Trump’s immigration agency is recommending that the U.S. end temporary protections by next January for 50,000 Haitians allowed to remain in the United States following a series of natural disasters that have crippled the poverty-stricken Caribbean nation.

James McCament, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, concluded in a letter last week that conditions in Haiti have improved enough to end “temporary protected status” for Haitians, according to a copy of the letter obtained by USA TODAY.

The Obama administration first offered temporary protection to Haitians following the devastating 2010 earthquake. The protection has been extended several times, the latest set to expire July 22. McCament proposed an extension to January to allow for a “period of orderly transition” but said the program should not be extended beyond then.

A final decision on the Haitians’ fate rests with Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Spokesman David Lapan said Thursday that Kelly has not yet made that decision.

 

Read the full text here.

Significant Losses to U.S. Taxpayers & GDP if TPS for Haitians Not Extended, Report Finds

April 20, 2017 - 10:29

A recent report by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center finds there will be significant economic repercussions within the U.S. if Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is not extended for Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras. Haiti’s TPS designation is the first of the three countries set to expire in July, if DHS does not grant an extension, and 46,558 Haitians currently residing in the U.S. under this status would face deportation. The report shows that allowing Haiti’s TPS to expire would reduce U.S. GDP by $2.8 billion over a decade and cost taxpayers $468 million to enforce the deportations.

Below is the Executive Summary of the report. Click HERE for the original report.Economic Contributions by Salvadoran, Honduran and Haitian TPS Holders: The Cost to Taxpayers, GDP, and Businesses of Ending TPS

Amanda Baran and Jose Magaña-Salgado with Tom K. Wong, Immigrant Legal Resource Center

April 2017

I. Executive Summary

In the next two years, the current Administration, through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will consider whether to extend designations of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for all countries that currently hold TPS.1 TPS is a form of immigration status that provides employment authorization and protection from deportation for foreign nationals who cannot be safely returned to their home countries.1 In terms of countries with the largest share of TPS recipients, the Trump Administration will decide whether to terminate the immigration status of over 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, and, most imminently, Haiti.2 In light of this Administration’s radical increase of interior and exterior enforcement through executive orders, funding requests, and policy guidance, the continued existence of TPS for these three countries is very much at risk. Thus, it is critical to determine the economic impact that termination of TPS for these three countries would have on taxpayers, businesses, and nation’s economy.

Using data from the American Community Survey (ACS), this report estimates the number of immigrants that would be impacted by ending TPS and examines the economic consequences of terminating TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. Among the key findings of this report:

▪  There are approximately 186,403 Salvadorans, 70,281 Hondurans, and 46,558 Haitians who currently hold a valid grant of TPS, for a total of approximately 300,000 individuals.

▪  As the DHS Secretary must decide whether to issue renewals or terminations 60 days before expiration,3 decisions on TPS extensions for Haiti, El Salvador, and Honduras will likely occur May 2017, January 2018, and November 2017, respectively.

▪  Deporting all Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS holders would cost taxpayers $3.1 billion dollars.

▪Ending TPS for these three countries would result in a $6.9 billion reduction to Social Security and Medicare contributions over a decade.

▪  Ending TPS for these three countries would lead to a $45.2 billion reduction in GDP over a decade.

▪  The wholesale lay-off of the entire employed TPS population from these three countries would result in $967 million of turnover costs, e.g. costs employers incur when an employee leaves a position.

▪  The loss in GDP and turnover costs would be felt most acutely in the locations where Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Haitians are primarily located, including major metropolitan areas in Florida, New York, California, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia.

Click HERE for the original report.