Contact:
Sara Lonardo, sara.lonardo@seiu.org, 202-730-7332

Issued May 22, 2017

SEIU’s Sáenz: 6-month Haitian TPS extension good, but not enough

WASHINGTON, D.C.—SEIU International Executive Vice President and iAmerica Action President Rocio Sáenz issued the following statement regarding the announcement that the Trump administration is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for about 58,000 Haitians until January 22, 2018:

“The decision to permit 50,000 Haitians who have been living and working legally in the U.S. for years to remain here while Haiti continues to heal from devastating natural disasters is good for America and good for Haiti. But doing so for only six months – instead of the 18 month extensions that have been granted in the past – leaves Haitians with TPS in limbo, unable to plan their lives. The fight for another extension must begin immediately.                                                               

“The legal and policy case for extending TPS for Haitians was overwhelming. Haiti cannot safely handle so many returning deportees because it has not yet recovered from the devastating 2010 earthquake, last October’s hurricane, or a continuing deadly cholera epidemic that was first brought to the island by peacekeepers sent by the U.N. to help with earthquake reconstruction.

“In the end, the advice, overwhelming evidence, and appeals to Secretary Kelly provided by experts and stakeholders, including elected officials on both sides of the aisle, doctors, humanitarian organizations, business leaders, unions, the Haitian government, and the U.S. Haitian community and allies made a difference. SEIU’s members and other Haitians with TPS now know that they can continue the lives they have built here for at least the next 6 months, working, paying taxes, and raising their families without fear of deportation to a nation ill equipped to absorb their return.

“Moving forward, SEIU calls on the Department of Homeland Security to approve another TPS extension for Haiti when it comes up, given that Haiti needs more than 6 months to heal. We also call for an extension for each of the other nations that are currently designated for TPS and still struggling to recover from natural disasters or armed conflict.  Finally, we call for a new level-headed approach to other decisions affecting immigrants. Stop wasting taxpayer resources to deport persons who have lived here for years who pose no danger to public safety. Restore America’s tradition as a place of refuge, and embrace the Constitution’s protection of religious minorities, including Muslims. And overall work to integrate immigrants to our nation instead of demonizing them and building walls.”

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