WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 100 international, national, state, and local organizations urged Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Director Kevin McAleenan to grant Bahamian nationals Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to Hurricane Dorian’s massive destruction and displacement of Bahamian nationals. Click here for a media backgrounder on TPS for the Bahamas.
In the September 25 letter, the organizations noted:
- “Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane and one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes in recorded history, first made landfall on the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas on September 1, 2019.”
- “With sustained winds of 185 mph, Dorian was the strongest hurricane on record to strike the Bahamas causing death and injury, widespread destruction, mass displacement of residents, and serious disruption of living conditions across the Bahamas affecting over 76,000 people.” and
- A grant of TPS would provide employment authorization and protection from deportation for approximately 14,000 Bahamian noncitizens in the United States.”
The letter further details the legal grounds for granting Bahamian nationals TPS and provides historic examples of DHS designating countries for TPS based on environmental disasters.
Jill Marie Bussey, Director of Advocacy for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., said, “Congress created TPS for these types of situations. It is immoral and cruel to deport Bahamian nationals back to a country that is in the midst of rebuilding after a devastating hurricane. To categorically declare that the administration would not designate Bahamas for TPS is premature, inappropriate, and not reflective of our values. This administration has already ended TPS for 98 percent of TPS holders. The situation of the Bahamas represents an opportunity for it to atone and revisit this misguided use of this vital humanitarian protection.”
“Bahamians extend their hospitality to over five million U.S. tourists yearly. It is our duty to offer residents of the Bahamas sanctuary in their time of need. Designating TPS for Bahamian citizens and waiving visa requirements is the least the United States can offer in response to this crisis,” said Mustafa Jumale, Policy Manager of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.
“Hurricane Dorian wrought untold devastation on the Bahamas, and thousands in the country have just started on the arduous journey of rebuilding what they have lost. Denying TPS to Bahamian nationals would not only be hypocrisy — but also a seriously unjust and inhumane act,” said Carolyn Fiddler, Communications Director at Daily Kos. “We call on the Trump Administration to offer Bahamian noncitizens in the U.S. employment authorization and protection from deportation in their time of need.”