On Friday, October 19 Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) led the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation in a letter to Secretary of State Tillerson and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke calling for an extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals residing in the United States, which is slated to end January 22, 2018.
The TPS designation is a temporary benefit aimed at providing relief to foreign nationals in the United States and countries devastated by natural disasters, armed conflict, or other extraordinary conditions. Currently, there are over 320,000 TPS holders in the United States from 10 countries with deadlines set to expire at the end of the year and beginning of 2018. More than 58,000 Haitians live and work in the United States under TPS and support 500,000 of their family members and loved ones in Haiti.
Lawmakers warned Secretary Tillerson and Acting Secretary Elaine Duke that “as Haiti continues to struggle to rebuild and recover from this series of devastating natural and man-made disasters, Haitian nationals in the United States are unable to return safely to their homeland.” According to the lawmakers, “ending TPS for Haiti would have devastating effects on a nation struggling to rebuild, and will surely worse the ongoing humanitarian disaster.”
WOLA (The Washington Office on Latin America) supports this letter and believes that it is critical for the United States Congress to continue engaging with U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State to make sure that TPS benefits for Haitian nationals are extended beyond the January 22, 2018 end date.