Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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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.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

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


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 Your registration will generate a confirmation email with information on how to join the webinar.

If you have questions, please email us at

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.