Miami, FL – On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian immigrants residing in the U.S., but only for six months. Prior to this announcement, humanitarian groups and legislators in Florida and across the country have called on DHS to extend TPS for a minimum of eighteen to twenty-four months.
The decision by DHS to extend TPS for only six additional months affects more than 58,000 Haitian immigrants, including thousands in Florida, and disrupts the lives and families many had built in the U.S. over the last seven years.
Responding to the extension, ACLU of Florida Deputy Director Melba Pearson stated:
“Both humanitarian considerations and assuring equitable treatment for Haitians should have made a longer extension an easy decision for DHS.
We stand with the humanitarian organizations and legislators in Florida who led this bipartisan effort calling for a more substantial extension of TPS. The world is well aware of the devastation Haiti has faced over the last several years, including the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, the cholera epidemic that immediately followed, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 which created nearly $3 billion in damage to the country, and the continued reports of malnutrition presently facing the country.
Forcing families whose lives were uprooted by these natural disasters to leave the United States at this time would be cruel and inhumane. Requiring a country still reeling from these natural and man-made disasters to now assimilate over 58,000 deportees back into the country will further complicate Haiti’s instability.
While the grant of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) is discretionary, discretion must never be applied arbitrarily or inequitably to different groups. The decision to grant a short extension, in the face of the facts on the ground, demonstrates that DHS is not meeting its responsibility to act fairly or reasonably. DHS can fix this by granting a more substantial extension for TPS recipients that would benefit both United States and Haiti’s people.