32BJ SEIU Response to USCIS’ Recommendation to End TPS for Haitians
MIAMI – On Thursday, April 20, 2017, as reported in USA Today, the USCIS has recommended that the US end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians by next January.
The following response can be attributed to Helene O’Brien, Florida Director of 32BJ SEIU:
“The USCIS’ recommendation to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians is unconscionable and oblivious to the dire conditions that exist in Haiti today.
The country is still reeling from multiple disasters, including the 2010 earthquake that left tens of thousands homeless; a cholera epidemic; and Hurricane Mathew, a category 4 hurricane that cost Haiti $2.7 billion and left half a million children without safe drinking water. It flies in the face of reason to think that Haiti could safely assimilate 50,000 people when there are still 60,000 earthquake survivors who are homeless and living in camps.
“Not only would this destabilize the country, it would also have vast negative consequences on our economy here at home. Haitian TPS holders contribute $280 million a year to our GDP. Some are small business owners and many others are an integral part of the companies that they work for.
What will happen to local economies in Miami, New York, or Boston when small mom and pop Haitian businesses suddenly board up? What about the millions that employers will have to spend to hire and retrain new staff? Worse still, what will happen to the families that will be ripped apart and children who will be left behind?
“It is with good reason that a bipartisan coalition of elected officials, including Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, have publicly stated their support of TPS. They recognize the chaos that ending it would create in the communities that they represent.
“We strongly urge DHS Secretary Kelly to reject the USCIS’ recommendation and extend TPS to the thousands of vulnerable Haitians that have been living in and contributing to this country. Doing so would avert a humanitarian disaster and reflect the US’ tradition of protecting people from unsafe conditions that are outside of their control.”