By Garth A. Rose
South Florida advocates for extension of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to 58,000 Haitians living and working in the US, are critical of a six-month extension announced by the Trump administration on Monday.
Since a devastating earthquake impacted Haiti in 2010, thousands of Haitians fleeing the country to seek refuge in the US were offered temporary legal immigration status under the TPS program approved by the US Congress in 1990.
People fleeing civil war, natural disaster and other extraordinary conditions in their countries can be offered TPS approved by the federal government.
The Obama administration granted four18-month TPS extensions since July, 2011 with the last extension due on July 22, 2017. The extension by the Trump administration expires in January, 2018.
Broward Commissioner Dale Holness who last week initiated a resolution in the Broward Commission seeking TPS extension for another 18 months from July, said the six-month extension “seems grudgingly offered. This definitely cannot be supported. I have visited Haiti nine times, as recent as last year, since the earthquake and conditions are nowhere suitable to receive almost 60,000 people from the US. In fact, the adverse conditions have been compounded by floods, hurricanes, and the serious cholera epidemic since 2010. Why not extend TPS for another 18 months as has occurred since 2011. I don’t see TPS being cancelled for migrants from other countries.”
Currently, immigrants from several countries including Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua are also granted TPS by the federal government.
Florida Senator Daphne Campbell, a Haitian-American from Miami, describes the extension as “a slap in the face. When the six months fly by, what’s next? Haitians on TPS in America since 2010 helped to build this country. They have invested in America.”
Another Haitian-American official, Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime, said the new extension “Serves as proof the administration is either out of touch with the reality on the ground in Haiti or downright insensitive to the plight of 58,000 Haitian nationals currently living in the US under TPS…. I strongly urge the Trump administration to reconsider their decision.”
Little Haiti resident, Magdela Josephe, feels deceived. “Trump promised to look after the Haitian community and Haiti during last year elections. Haitians voted to make him president. He has deceived us with this six-month nonsense.”