News

US Immigration Services wants end to temporary protection for Haitians

Friday, April 21, 2017 | 1:54 PM    

Print this page Email A Friend!


WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), James McCament, has issued a recommendation that the United States end temporary protections by next January for 50,000 Haitians who are allowed to remain in the US following a series of natural disasters that have crippled the French-speaking Caribbean nation.

In a letter, a copy of which was obtained by USA Today, McCament said that conditions in Haiti have improved enough to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians.

The Obama administration first offered TPS to Haitians following the devastating 2010 earthquake.

The protection has been extended several times, with the latest set to expire on July 22.


The report says McCament proposed an extension to January to allow for a “period of orderly transition” but said the programme should not be extended beyond then.

However, that a final decision on the Haitians’ fate rests with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly and according to spokesman David Lapan, Kelly has not yet made that decision.

In response, Helene O’Brien, Florida Director of 32BJ SEIU, the largest property service workers labour union in the United States, described the USCIS’ recommendation to end TPS for Haitians as “unconscionable and oblivious to the dire conditions that exist in Haiti today.”

32BJ members include office cleaners, security officers, doormen, porters, maintenance workers, bus drivers and aides, window cleaners, school cleaners, and food service workers.

O’Brien said Haiti is still reeling from multiple disasters, including the 2010 earthquake that left tens of thousands homeless; a cholera epidemic; and Hurricane Mathew, a category 4 hurricane that cost Haiti US$2.7 billion and left half a million children without safe drinking water.

“It flies in the face of reason to think that Haiti could safely assimilate 50,000 people when there are still 60,000 earthquake survivors who are homeless and living in camps,” she said in release

“Not only would this destabilize the country, it would also have vast negative consequences on our economy here at home,” she added, stating that Haitian TPS holders contribute US$280 million a year to the US’ gross domestic product (GDP).

“What will happen to local economies in Miami, New York, or Boston when small mom and pop Haitian businesses suddenly board up?” O’Brien asked. “What about the millions that employers will have to spend to hire and retrain new staff? Worse still, what will happen to the families that will be ripped apart and children who will be left behind?

“We strongly urge DHS Secretary Kelly to reject the USCIS’ recommendation and extend TPS to the thousands of vulnerable Haitians that have been living in and contributing to this country,” she continued. “Doing so would avert a humanitarian disaster and reflect the US’ tradition of protecting people from unsafe conditions that are outside of their control.”

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

 

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper – email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

Do you support the Government's proposed spending of $200 million for Jamaica 55 celebrations?
Yes
No


View Results »


ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT