Thousands are feared dead in Haiti in the aftermath of the massive 7.0 earthquake that struck near Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince yesterday. You can find out how to help here, but one thing we can do immediately is to ask the Obama Administration to grant Temporary Protected Status for Haiti, so that Haitians awaiting deportation can be allowed to stay while the country recovers from a series of natural disasters.
UPDATE: The Department of Homeland Security has agreed to halt deportations to Haiti for now but we still need to get an official TPS status.
Immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua have been granted temporary stay in the recent past due to similar disasters. With 30,000 Haitians facing deportation, these pending removals need to be stopped and Haitians here should be granted TPS in order to seek additional relief. One year after the election of Barack Obama, Haitians are still awaiting temporary protected status amidst political upheavals, food shortages, and natural disasters.
Obama has not bowed to Congressional pressure in the past to extend TPS to Haiti, and the easiest way to get this done is to pressure Department of Homeland Secretary, Janet Napolitano, to exercise discretion. That is the kind of change we can believe in.
Kudos go to Senator Gillibrand, who has already urged President Obama to just grant TPS, stating that “Haiti clearly meets the criteria for TPS designation, and extending it would be one way to help address this catastrophe, as well as alleviate additional burdens on American assistance workers.” We hope more elected officials, faith leaders, people in the business community and supporters join in this humanitarian call.