The United States and the international community continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the people of Haiti in response to the devastating earthquake that struck on Tuesday evening. As a complement to the comprehensive relief and development efforts, the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has announced that it will temporarily halt all deportations to Haiti. While this announcement comes as welcome news, it does not mean that the Obama administration has granted Temporary Protected Status to Haitian immigrants.
By granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians in the United States, the U.S. government would not only halt all deportations of Haitians from the United States to Haiti, but would also allow Haitian immigrants to obtain work permits. TPS would enable Haitian immigrants to better support their families and communities as they anxiously wait for the situation in Haiti to stabilize.
TPS is a temporary immigration status that does not allow its recipients to remain in the United States permanently. Rather, it protects people who cannot safely return to their home country because of ongoing armed conflicts, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary and temporary circumstances. For more on TPS, see the USCIS website. There are currently 30,000 Haitians in the United States facing deportation to Haiti, who would immediately benefit from TPS.
In order to protect Haitians already in the United States and allow the Haitian government to focus its limited resources on providing emergency care to its suffering people, the Obama administration should act immediately to grant TPS to Haitians. Contact President Obama to urge the U.S. government to immediately grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitian immigrants.