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U.S. Representative Alcee L. Hastings calls on President Bush to provide Haitian Nationals in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status

FT. LAUDERDALE – U.S. Representative Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) on Thursday, April 12 again called on President Bush to grant Haitian nationals currently in the United States Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in response to almost 200 Haitian migrants who have landed ashore in South Florida in less than two weeks.

This is not the first time in the past year that Representative Hastings has made such calls. In March 2006, Representative Hastings wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff urging the Secretary to grant TPS for eighteen months to Haitian nationals presently in the United States. Further, Representative Hastings has repeatedly encouraged Haitian President René Préval to ask President Bush to grant TPS to Haitians, most recently in October 2006.

On January 17, 2007, Representative Hastings re-introduced H.R. 522, the Haitian Protection Act, legislation which would designate Haitian nationals in the United States as eligible for TPS.

Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress

The text of Representative Hastings’ letter to President Bush follows:

April 12, 2007
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

In light of the recent developments regarding more than one hundred Haitian migrants who landed ashore in South Florida on March 27, 2007, and even more recently, the seventy-eight who landed on April 9, 2007, I write to urge you to authorize Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eighteen months to Haitian nationals presently in the United States.

As you know, TPS may be granted when any one of the following three conditions are met: there is ongoing armed conflict posing a serious threat to personal safety; it is requested by a foreign state that temporarily cannot handle the return of nationals due to environmental disaster; or when extraordinary and temporary conditions in a foreign state exist which prevent aliens from returning. Haiti meets all of these requirements, any of which suffices.

Haiti’s ongoing political and civil crises, as well as the extraordinary and temporary destruction caused by several recent environmental disasters, more than qualify Haitian nationals already in the United States for TPS.

There are currently seven countries that are protected under the TPS provision: Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Burundi, Somalia, Sudan, and Liberia. Within the past year, nationals of all seven countries have obtained status renewal for an additional twelve months because it has been determined by the Department of Homeland Security that the country in question is unable to handle the return of its nationals due to varying circumstances.

By refusing to give Haiti TPS designation, our inequitable immigration polices continue to send a clear message: The safety of Haitian lives is not a priority compared to a Honduran, Liberian or Sudanese life. These double standard and discriminatory immigration practices must end. Our immigration policies must reflect fairness and treat Haitians equally to Nicaraguans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans, whose deportations are suspended and who are allowed to work and support their families back home.

On January 17, 2007, I re-introduced H.R. 522, The Haitian Protection Act, legislation which officially designates Haitians eligible for TPS. Although the bill has not yet passed, it continues to garner increased bi-partisan support from my colleagues.

Haiti is making great strides to recover and rebuild. We should not reward their efforts with discriminatory immigration practices. Mr. President, you have supported the renewal of TPS for several countries in need. I respectfully request that you grant Haitians the same consideration and protection that you have supported for other deserving nations and people.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your expeditious response.

With warm regards, I remain,


Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress

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