Issued November 20, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – Today the Department of Homeland Security announced that it is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for approximately 50,000 Haitians who have been living and working legally in the U.S. for many years. DHS is providing a grace period of 18 months after which all 50,000 TPS recipients from Haiti must leave the U.S. or be subject to deportation. The announcement requires Haitian TPS holders to file for an extension of their work authorization in order to continue working. It also makes clear that the same fate is likely for about 195,000 Salvadorans with TPS, and it bodes poorly for the fate of other smaller numbers of people from four other countries awaiting decisions within the next year. In all, more than 320,000 people who have been legally present here for years now face likely expulsion unless Congress acts.
SEIU Executive Vice President Rocio Saenz expressed outrage at the DHS decision:
“The decision to terminate TPS is heartbreaking, and harmful in every way. As we gather around the dinner table to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with our families, thousands of families will be forced to go back to a country that is not equipped to receive them. Besides the human toll on Haitian TPS recipients and their families, it will be costly for their employers, ruinous to the up and coming neighborhoods where they often live, and destabilizing to their countries of origin.
“This decision is not an abstraction for SEIU. It affects thousands of Haitian SEIU members and their families who stand to lose not only their jobs but also the lives they have worked so hard to build since they left their home countries. These are good people, stable workers who have paid their taxes, formed families and often own homes here. They were trapped here when one of the worst earthquakes ravaged the island killing thousands and have been legally re-registering with the U.S. government regularly, each time paying about $500 in registration fees and each time undergoing a new FBI background check. TPS holders have more than 270,000 U.S. born children and thousands of grandchildren. After all of this time, no conceivable purpose is served by upending all of that and ordering them to return to some of the most dangerous and precarious countries on earth.
“This fight is not over, though. Even though the Administration has terminated TPS for Haiti, Congress can and must act to allow TPS holders from there and elsewhere to remain.
“I urge Congress to do so without delay so that these decent people can eliminate the fear and uncertainty that now clouds their days with the burden that any day they could be ripped apart from their loved ones, and continue to thrive and contribute to the American dream.”