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Cruel and Unjust Ending of Protections for Haitians in the U.S.

November 22, 2017

The November 20 announcement by the Trump Administration to end immigration protections for 50,000 Haitians, giving them 18 months to leave the United States, represents a cruel and tragic injustice, and a pattern of total disregard for our nation’s humanitarian and moral obligations to defend the vulnerable.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) gives permission to almost 320,000 immigrants to live and work in the U.S. away from their 10 countries where environmental disaster, armed conflict or other extraordinary circumstances would place them in danger if they return. 

“The Administration’s decision appears driven by a broader political agenda that promotes fear-mongering and blaming of immigrants, and diminishes us all as a nation.  It will cause tremendous suffering both in Haiti and here, including the tearing apart of families, especially for the nearly 27,000 U.S.-born children of current Haitian TPS holders,”  said Sister Anne Marie Miller, Institute Leadership Team Member.

Ending Haiti’s TPS is the third such termination by the Administration in three months.  El Salvador is currently under review, with a determination on extension due on January 6. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ignored factual evidence that conditions on the ground in Haiti remain dire – not only from the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, but also from a housing and food crisis, two subsequent hurricanes and 11,000 new cases of cholera in 2017 alone.  Our Sisters of Mercy have witnessed this reality in Haiti first-hand through our Mercy Focus on Haiti ministry initiative.

The Sisters of Mercy came to this country as immigrants in the 1840s. We have served alongside immigrant communities, first the Irish and now in recent times with immigrants from all over the world. Many are fleeing poverty, war and oppression in their home countries – conditions that are exacerbated if not caused by U.S. military interventions and economic policies that put corporate profits ahead of the basic needs of people and the environment.

We now call on Congress to act, and work toward legislation that would provide a permanent solution in these next 18 months for TPS holders from Haiti and the other countries whose lives are in the balance.

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