HAITI NEWS AND VIEWS: Haitian Immigrants March for TPS Extension

November 10, 2017

As Seen on Air

Time is running out for Haitians living in the United States under temporary protected status. TPS is set to expire in January, unless the Trump Administration acts by next month.

Rain or shine, Haitian Immigrants said they want to stay in South Florida during a march Saturday.

“We are here in front of the immigration offices to ask the Trump Administration to renew temporary protected status for 18 months for citizens of Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador,” said Marleine Bastien, the executive director of Haitian Women of Miami.

With each chant, Haitian Women of Miami, community leaders and supporters pushed forward, urging the Department of Homeland Security to renew TPS, focusing on Haitian immigrants living in the United States.

“I got a baby, four-years-old, she’s American born. Can I go back to my country with a baby when you have no hospital, nothing?” said Marcia Jean Philippe, a TPS recipient from Haiti.

Marica is one of many Haitian TPS recipients who have been living the U.S. for years, since the devastating earthquake in 2010. After major hurricanes like Matthew, many fear the Caribbean nation is not in any condition to accept deportees.

“My country is not ready to take me back with my kids,” said Philippe.

“They cannot absorb 58,000 in the case of Haiti, immigrants that have been working here for an average of eight to 20 years,” said Bastien.

The future of those families remains in limbo as the current TPS expiration date is January 2018. If it’s not renewed, marchers say it would come with a cost.

“There will be big financial cost to try to deport all these people,” said Bastien. “They contribute to our economy, they pay taxes, they pay social security, they really invest in our economy.

TPS supporters say an extension would also allow supporters to find a permanent solution with lawmakers in congress.

Ralliers are making sure that their voices do not fall on deaf ears. They are pushing for President Trump and Homeland Security to act now for the TPS recipients before it’s too late.

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What was emphasized during the discussion is that it is up to those that believe in the US as a nation of immigrants, to counter the lies and misinformation that is permeating the current dialogue about new immigrants and refugees in the US. It is incumbent on all of us to speak out against xenophobia and hatred toward the newest members of our communities.


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