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 people.
“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.”
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SOURCE: Jamaica Observer