CGRS Calls for Extension of Humanitarian Protection for Haitian Nationals

Friday, April 21, 2017

USCIS Claim that Conditions Have Improved in Haiti Belies Reality

The Center for Gender & Refugees Studies (CGRS) strongly urges DHS Secretary Kelly to continue to offer Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals. Consistent with our deeply rooted humanitarian values, and with bipartisan and wide public support, the United States extended TPS to Haitians following the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. Beneficiaries of this program include women and girls, many of whom faced high rates of sexual violence in displacement camps left by the earthquake that continue to mark the Haitian landscape.

CGRS Senior Staff Attorney Christine Lin, stated: “Having just returned from a delegation to the country, I can safely say that the crisis in Haiti, and the need for TPS, has not abated. In many respects, it has only deepened. Subsequent natural, political, and economic disasters have continued to wreak havoc, including a devastating cholera epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives and devastated tens of thousands more, and for which the United Nations has admitted responsibility but has yet to offer reparation to eradicate the disease and compensate families. The recommendation of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to end this critical program based on ‘improved’ conditions in Haiti simply is not based in reality.”

“The ongoing crisis in Haiti is reflected in the stories of Haitians who continue to reach our border seeking safe haven and a means of survival,” added CGRS Co-Legal Director Blaine Bookey, who recently returned from a trip to Tijuana, Mexico where she spoke with dozens of Haitian women and their families. “I can think of few other examples in history that so directly fit within the goals of the TPS program, particularly poignant given the role of the United States in the precariousness of Haiti’s present day economic and political insecurity. Not only does the protection afforded by TPS help the 50,000 individuals in the United States but also their families and extended communities in Haiti that rely on remittances for basic necessities. An end to TPS will cause unnecessary pain, suffering, and death. Extending it will save lives. The choice is clear.”