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Lawmakers ask President to grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians
June 30, 2009

Sen. Bill Nelson (D. - FLA) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D.-NY) each wrote letters to President Obama in recent days asking that he grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians in the U.S. In December of 2008, the United States began forcibly deporting 30,000 Haitians back to their country, a country ravaged by consecutive natural disasters last September. The two hurricanes and two tropical storms that hit Haiti in devastating succession during harvest season last year killed nearly 1,000 people and left 800,000 of the country’s residents in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. The storms destroyed at least $180 million in crops, exacerbating an existing food shortage.

Sen. Nelson noted he has just returned from a fact-finding trip to Haiti, where he saw that while conditions are improving they are still harsh. Rep. Rangel pointed out that the 30,000 Haitians in Miami who have been issued deportation orders are now not allowed to work, thus depriving them of the opportunity to provide for their families both in the U.S. and back in Haiti. Rep. Rangel noted that such remittances make up 25 percent of Haiti’s GDP.

The Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress can offer a humanitarian helping hand by granting Temporary Protected Status to the Haitians, allowing them an opportunity to stay temporarily on our shores as they await the moment when their nation can accept their safe return. Congress established TPS to grant safety to foreign nationals in just such circumstances as those currently facing Haiti.

Deporting 30,000 people to Haiti under the current circumstances would only act to further aggravate the current humanitarian crisis and increase the stress on Haiti’s already weak economy. The destabilizing effects will be yet another blow to an already struggling democracy. This is a matter of life and death for Haitians.

Press Contact Information
Mr Christian Fuchs
202-462-0400 ext. 5946