After a 7 point magnitude earthquake killed 250,000 people in Haiti and quasi destroyed Haiti’s infrastructure on January 12, 2010, President Obama approved Temporary Protected Status (TPS ) for Haitians to allow them to stay in the U.S and to help Haiti recover. Over 6 years later, Haiti has yet to recover. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew wrecked havoc in the country. More than 700 people were killed, and the entire South peninsula was destroyed. Most of the crops were wiped out, resulting in a serious case of food insecurity and daily deaths as a result of severe malnutrition. Haiti is also still struggling to recover from the world’s most significant imported cholera outbreak, with an estimated 30,000 cases expected this year, as well as the effects of the January 2010 earthquake, with tens of thousands of people still camping in tents without proper sanitation.
“TPS is up for renewal on July 22, 2017 and 50,000 anxious Haitians are holding their breath as they await the decision by the Department for Homeland Security (DHS). It is sad because in addition to worrying about the horrible situation of famine in Haiti, now family members in the U.S. are basically dying of fright, wondering what the Trump administration will do about TPS. Haiti is in no condition to absorb immigrants from the U.S. right now,” said Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of FANM (Haitian Women of Miami).
Extending TPS for another 18 months is in the United States’ national interest because on top of a multitude of problems – cholera, Hurricane Matthew aftereffects, years of political instability and turmoil – it would destabilize Haiti to deport 58,000 people and, in doing so, also instantly cut off remittances to hundreds of thousands of loved ones in Haiti. Haiti is in no position either to safely absorb an additional 58,000 persons, nor to make up for the remittances that would be curtailed.
Due to a plethora of natural disasters that have struck Haiti over the last few years and current political instability in the country, the S. Florida community will come together to urge President Trump to address the country’s growing humanitarian crisis and renew T.P.S.