The U.Should Grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians
February 27, 2009 - 2:25pm ET
As you may know, in September 2008 Haiti suffered massive destruction wrought by Tropical Storms Fay and Hanna and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/11/world/americas/11haiti.html Currently 800,000 Haitians are in need of humanitarian assistance. The storms left many of Haiti’s 8.5 million citizens homeless – without food, water, shelter, or healthcare – and compounded the food shortage which came to light during the food riots in April 2008. The Artibonite “breadbasket” region of Haiti has been flooded by storm waters, destroying an estimated 180 million dollars in crops.
Jesuit Refugee Service provides humanitarian assistance to Haitian refugees and migrants dwelling along the Haitian border with the Dominican Republic. Our field office in Ouanaminthe Haiti has seen the effects of both the food crisis and the storms in the last year http://www.jrsusa.org/news/news_080411.php.
Haitian society is fragile and the U.S. plan to deport 30,000 Haitians to the storm ravaged nation represents a grave security and humanitarian concern. Of these 30,000 Haitians awaiting deportation, 600 sit in U.S. detention centers nation-wide, and may be indefinitely detained unless the Administration or Congress acts.
A Plea for Help
On October 4, 2008 Haitian President Preval made a public plea to the U.S. Administration. He explained that deporting thousands of Haitians back to Haiti under its current circumstances would only act to further exacerbate the current humanitarian crisis and increase the stress on Haiti’s already fragile economy. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has not yet responded to this plea.
What is TPS?
Congress established TPS to grant safety to those foreign nationals who cannot safely return to their home country due to ongoing armed conflict or because of an environmental disaster. The destruction caused by the four storms in Haiti has made the safe return of Haitian nationals to their country impossible. TPS would allow Haitians currently in the U.S. to stay temporarily, as a response to the natural disasters and political strife that have recently plagued the country.
H.R. 144 is a bill designed by group of concerned Congressional Representatives to answer President Preval’s Plea to halt deportations and grant Temporary Protected Status to eligible Haitians. Please write or call your Representative to urge them to co-sponsor this important legislation.
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