WASHINGTON, D.C. — Trump voters, a Republican governor, evangelical Christians and business leaders are among those calling for extending protections for Haitians.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a deadline of early next week to decide whether to renew Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians seeking refuge in the U.S., which otherwise would expire in July. TPS was first authorized following Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and a sustained cholera outbreak since then have set the country back.
“Our friends in the Haitian community need your help,” reads a letter to President Trump from the chairman of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, the group’s general counsel, and an advisor who served on the Trump campaign’s National Diversity Coalition. “We strongly urge you to instruct the Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to extend Temporary Protected Status to Haitian nationals living in the United States … [Letting it expire] would be a terrible mistake with dire consequences for the Haitian people.”
In addition, today seven Southern evangelical leaders have sent a letter to DHS in which they write about their firsthand experience in Haiti and the need to extend protections. Catholic leaders also have written to Kelly.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott requested an extension in a May 11 meeting with DHS Secretary John Kelly. Other Republican leaders who have requested an extension include Rep. Mia Love (Utah) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo.
Businesses and business associations weighing in this week range from Disney to the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association (GMBHA), among others.
“Ongoing reports of damage and suffering in Haiti require an extended TPS designation,” said Wendy Kallergis, president and CEO, GMBHA. “The country is in no condition to handle the return of these individuals.”
“We cannot in good conscience send tens of thousands of Haitians in need of refuge back to a country that remains in crisis,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Support for extending protected status is not a matter of party, and this is not a political question. Extending temporary protected status for Haitians simply lives up to our humanitarian values.”