Donald Trump's Thanksgiving To Haitians: Get Out of America

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Turkey time. Trump decision could lead to deportations of tens of thousands of Haitians. Photo: Gage Skidmore-Flickr

Elected officials, activists, and the Democratic Party have condemned the ending of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians by the Trump administration, exposing as many as 60,000 people to eminent expulsion from the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals, effective July 22, 2019.

“Donald Trump’s cruelty knows no bounds," said Tom Perez, the DNC chair, after the decision was announced. "He’s taken away protections for immigrant children and their parents, and now he’s going after U.S. residents whose home countries have been devastated by war and environmental disaster. As the proud son of two immigrants who fled an oppressive regime, I'm disgusted at the president's heartlessness. With this decision, Trump is tearing families apart and turning his back on the values that have made our country great."

“Protecting these hardworking people is the right thing to do for our economy and for our country. Democrats believe that diversity and compassion are our country’s greatest strengths, and we will continue to fight for the courageous immigrant families who make our country better every day,” Perez said.

“I am deeply dismayed in the Trump administration’s poor decision to end Temporary Protected Status for almost 60,000 Haitians who have been peacefully living and working in our country since the devastating earthquake of 2010," said, the Brooklyn borough president, Eric Adams, whose borough has a sizable population of Haitian immigrants. "While many of us had feared this, we are no less heartbroken over the impact this will have on thousands of immigrant families in our borough. Brooklyn is the Port-au-Prince of America, and we will not abandon our Haitian brothers and sisters in the callous manner that this White House plans to do. My administration will work closely with our legislative partners and local stakeholders to provide the legal support and intervention needed to stem this impending crisis and keep families together.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network in a statement said: "Prior to the November 23, 2017 deadline, instead of fully extending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for an additional 18 months, this administration is canceling protections for thousands of families recovering from devastation and untenable living conditions — families who legally live and work in the United States. Now America turns a blind eye to its promise to provide a safeguard to those all over the world who seek refuge. Families will return to an immigration status they previously held, facing possible detention and deportation. Haiti is a textbook case for granting an 18-month extension due to the effects of Hurricane Matthew, the cholera epidemic, and an incomplete earthquake recovery effort. In 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, resulting in an injury toll of 300,000, and more than 316,000 dead or missing. President Obama granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians, allowing them to flee the devastation and to live and work legally in the United States. TPS holders have been essential in strengthening the Haitian economy, and have also contributed significantly to the U.S. economy. In addition, these actions contradict the goals set by the recently passed United States Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act of 2016, a law focused on increased engagement with Caribbean governments and the Caribbean diaspora communities in the United States. Purging immigrants of color is another skewed and ignorant attempt by this administration to ignore constructive pathways to immigration reform. The threat of deportation has cast a shadow over Thanksgiving for tens of thousands of Haitians living in the United States. We will continue to fight this issue with a swift eye towards justice."

"There is no principled basis for the administration’s announcement tonight to end TPS for Haitians. Only six months ago, the Department of Homeland Security under Gen. John Kelly concluded that conditions on the ground warranted an extension of TPS for Haiti," said Tom Jawetz, vice president for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress. "In the intervening months, conditions have only worsened, as Haiti experienced additional flooding and devastation due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In the same way that the Trump administration created an unnecessary crisis for nearly 800,000 Dreamers by terminating the DACA initiative, the administration today created tremendous fear and uncertainty for 50,000 Haitians that have been living and working in the country lawfully for many years, as well as their 27,000 U.S.-born children. Those affected by today’s heartless and unwise decision should seek guidance in the days ahead about how to apply for an additional 18 months of protection and seek legal advice. And Congress must now get to work once more cleaning up the mess left behind by an administration intent on pursuing a policy of mass deportation."

Frank Sharry, founder and executive director, America’s Voice Education Fund, said, “This is a cruel decision, and a stupid decision," Frank Sharry, founder and executive director, America’s Voice Education Fund. "It's cruel to the tens of thousands of Haitians who work in critical industries, care for U.S. citizen children and contribute so much to the country that has welcomed them. It's a stupid decision because if 50,000 Haitians are forced to return to Haiti in 18 months, it would further destabilize a nation wracked by natural disasters and epidemics, leading to political instability and more unauthorized migration. The Trump Administration is taking a wrecking ball to the Statue of Liberty and creating deeper problems for nations in its own neighborhood. Given this cruel and stupid decision, it is imperative that Congress step up and step in to address the growing crisis of TPS holders in the U.S., a crisis caused by an Administration determined to drive deeply rooted immigrants out of the country they now call home."



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