AI Justice Continues to Advocate for Justice for Haitians

Miami, FL - May 22, 2017 - Department of Homeland Security sources have indicated that Temporary Protected Status for Haiti will be renewed for 6 months.  Following the January 12, 2010 earthquake that shook Haiti to its core, taking 300,000 Haitian lives and injuring 1.5 million, the United States granted Haitians Temporary Protected status (TPS), allowing them to live and work here legally.  Since then, Haiti suffered additional calamities.  In 2016, a category 5 storm slammed Haiti, destroying entire towns and affecting an estimated 2.1 million Haitians.  An ongoing cholera epidemic - reportedly the world's largest- has killed 9,500 Haitians and sickened 900,000 others.  Until today, TPS status has been renewed every 18 months since 2010. 

These Haitians are an integral part of our workforce and the economic costs of ending this much needed protection are enormous.  The U.S. Department of Commerce's Census Bureau concluded that the inability of Haitians to continue working here would result in $2.8 billion in lost GDP over a decade, and $428 million in lost Social Security and Medicare contributions.  On the other hand, the cost of deporting Haitian TPS holders is $469 million. Haitians here also send billions in remittances to loved ones back home, whose very lives depend on this cash, and which helps stabilize a frail economy.  Remittances represent over 20% of the country's GDP and in 2015 alone, remittances from the U.S. toppled $3.1 billion.  Without these monies, it is highly unlikely that Haiti can recover from the devastating blows it has endured in recent years.
  
The Department of Homeland Security in a news release today urged "Haitian TPS recipients who do not have another immigration status to use the time before Jan. 22, 2018 to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States-including proactively seeking travel documentation-or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible." Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice) will do its part to provide information and legal screenings to as many individuals as possible.  The vast majority of Haitian TPS recipients are long-term residents who have lived here for upwards of 15 years.  They work hard, pay taxes, have U.S. citizen children and have broken no criminal laws.  They are an integral part of our communities. 
  
"We haven't lost the war yet but certainly don't see this as a victory. Our Haitian TPS clients have had far too many sleepless nights in recent months, and sadly this news will do little to relieve their anxiety. We live to fight another battle and will intensify our efforts to convince the Administration to do the right thing," said AI Justice Executive Director, Cheryl Little. "We maintain hope that the Administration will consider humanitarian concerns and family unity as they re-evaluate this decision in 6 months and will continue to advocate with our partners for the Haitian community and work to make sure the community is informed," reiterated AI Justice Family Defense Program Director, Adonia Simpson.

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AI Justice is an award-winning non-profit law and advocacy firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants. In Florida and on a national level, we champion the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocate for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serve as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speak for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.