Last week marked the five-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, which grants protection from deportation to many young immigrants. In the five years since the announcement of DACA, an estimated 95% of DACA youth and young adults are either working or attending school, contributing to their local communities and the economy.
On Thursday, the White House announced it would continue to leave the program untouched, maintaining the existing protections from deportation for nearly 800,000 “DREAMers.” While we at the Florida Immigrant Coalition celebrate the news that these young people are receiving the security that should be afforded to them, we remain highly vigilant of our Haitian brothers and sisters who have not been afforded these similar and necessary protections.
Temporary Protective Status (TPS) grants individuals hailing from certain designated countries struck by natural disasters or armed conflict, such as Haiti, with authorization to remain legally in the United States. More than 58,000 Haitians are members of the program, after a disastrous earthquake ravished the island in 2011. TPS allows for recipients to remain in the U.S. with valid work permits until the unrest in their country of origin abates.
While TPS extensions are normally offered for 18 months, the Trump administration disappointingly took the unprecedented step to shorten the duration of their protected status for only another six months. This six-month extension is not enough. The country is currently facing the worst cholera epidemic in the world, with about 40,000 people living in tent homes and makeshift shelters, while facing steep economic and political turmoil.
We encourage the administration to acknowledge the unrealistic term given to Haitian recipients, who are working and making a tangible contribution to our community and economy. Furthermore, we recognize that DACA and TPS fail to provide a plan toward legal integration of these communities to the this country where they have invested so much of their lives, skills, and dreams. True comprehensive immigration reform should comprise a pathway for these communities to realize their full potential as they advance toward citizenship.
Speak to your federal representative today and ask them what they are doing to #SaveTPS 202-224-3121.