SILVER SPRING, Maryland – On the cusp of the Trump administration’s November deadlines to decide the fate of more than 100,000 holders of Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., released a new report detailing why TPS should be extended for Haiti.
TPS is a humanitarian program that allows people to stay in the United States if their home countries were affected by a catastrophic situation that prevents their safe return; for example war, famine, natural disaster, or epidemic. TPS allows people to temporarily live and work in U.S., shielding them from deportation. TPS does not provide a pathway to permanent residency or citizenship.
“TPS is rooted in international principles to not return people to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened,” said Lisa Parisio, CLINIC’s advocacy attorney for policy and outreach and co-author of the report, Protecting families, stabilizing the region: Why Temporary Protected Status is needed for Haiti.
"At CLINIC, we are gravely concerned for the lives of Haitian TPS holders and we unequivocally object to the administration’s continued politicization of humanitarian programs. As the report details, during the review period for the previous decision on whether to extend TPS for Haiti, we saw the administration digging for criminal histories and public benefits fraud by Haitian TPS holders. These efforts produced nothing,” Parisio added. “Such considerations are not even relevant under the law, which requires the administration to make TPS decisions based on country conditions.”
In addition to an overview of current conditions in Haiti, the report includes recommendations for the administration and for Congress.
Key recommendations include:
- The administration should make decisions based on current country conditions in TPS-designated countries. In Haiti’s case, this includes a thorough review of the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.
- The administration should honor the Haitian government’s request to extend TPS for Haiti for at least 18 months and accept the Haitian government’s invitation to survey conditions in Haiti prior to the Nov. 23, 2017, decision deadline.
- Congress should act swiftly to create a permanent solution to protect Haitian and other TPS holders who have been in the United States for many years because their countries have been unsafe for many years.
“The administration must follow the law,” said Jill Marie Bussey, CLINIC’s advocacy director and co-author of the report. “That means decisions about TPS must be made in a timely manner and be based on current country conditions. Haiti has suffered a series of natural disasters starting with 2010’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake. In the report we describe how catastrophic environmental events have slowed recovery.”
“We’re currently following reports of diphtheria, which can, of course, be deadly,” Bussey added. “Ending TPS for Haiti will undermine the progress that has been made and destabilize the region. This is against U.S. national interests. The lawful and best solution is to continue to extend TPS for Haiti. Additionally, and as importantly, Haitian TPS holders have been in the United States for many years and have put down roots here.
She added that the report also calls for Congress to create a permanent solution to protect Haitian TPS holders and their families.