Thursday, May 23, 2024

Lawmakers and Immigration Advocates Call on Obama to Grant TPS to Haitians

Haitian-American activists, immigration activists, and lawmakers are lobbying the Obama administration to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to undocumented Haitian nationals living in the United States, a benefit that has long been sought by those advocating for Haitian immigrants.  TPS is granted to selected immigrants in the U.S. who cannot return safely to their countries of origin because of natural disasters, armed conflict, or other emergencies.  The current appeal for TPS is based on the wide-spread destruction in Haiti’s capital region and the accompanying economic collapse.

TPS would allow the estimated 30,000 undocumented Haitian immigrants in the United States to stay in the country for a specific period and obtain work permits.  The status is often renewed indefinitely.

On Wednesday, the Obama administration announced that it would suspend deportations of undocumented Haitians back to their country, but it gave no indication that it would extend TPS to those individuals.  Nonetheless, administration sources confirm that the President is weighing the option.  In an interview on Wednesday, Matthew Chandler, deputy Homeland Security press secretary, said that “TPS is in the range of considerations we consider in a disaster, but our focus remains on saving lives”.

Three members of Congress from South Florida (Reps. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen), which has the largest Haitian immigrant population in the country, have sent a joint letter to President Obama requesting TPS for Haitians in the U.S.  Additionally, the directors of several immigrant advocacy groups have assumed the challenge of achieving TPS for Haitians.

“We appreciate that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has halted all deportations to Haiti,” said Cheryl Little of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center. “Now it’s time to provide immigration relief so Haitians here can help Haiti recover from yet another natural disaster… We ask President Obama to immediately grant TPS as part of U.S. efforts to aid Haiti and Haitians who are suffering. To do less is unacceptable”.

The Miami Herald


  1. I’m glad America is stepping up to the plate.

  2. Additionally, we should start granting asylum to Haitians.