Press Releases

Hastings Renews Call for Extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian Nationals

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Washington, D.C., March 24, 2017 | comments

Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) sent the following letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly, urging him to extend TPS Status to Haitian nationals who have been residing in the United States and benefitting from this program. Joining Hastings in signing the letter were Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), and Lois Frankel (D-FL). (Please find a copy of the letter below and attached.)

March 24, 2017

Honorable John F. Kelly
Secretary
Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20016
 
Dear Secretary Kelly:
 
We write to encourage you to exercise your authority under Section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a) to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian nationals who have been residing in the United States and benefitting from this program.
     
Through TPS, our country has been committed to providing a safe haven to individuals unable to securely return to their home country due to ongoing environmental disasters and violence that have severely impacted their country. On January 12, 2010, Haiti was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake causing massive devastation throughout the country. The earthquake is estimated to have directly affected 3,000,000 people, nearly one-third of Haiti’s population. In addition, the earthquake destroyed government buildings, hospitals, schools, and vital aid offices, including the United Nations’ mission headquarters. Haiti, to this day, continues to rebuild from this debilitating earthquake.     
     
Since the earthquake hit Haiti, the country has not only suffered a cholera outbreak that is responsible for the deaths of, to date, 9,000 Haitians, but also Hurricane Matthew, which made landfall on October 4, 2016. Hurricane Matthew was the worst hurricane to hit the country in 50 years, taking the lives of over 1,000 people and directly affecting 2.1 million Haitians. The hurricane was responsible for the internal displacement of 175,000 people and left 1.4 million in need of urgent humanitarian aid.        
     
It is estimated that Hurricane Matthew resulted in damage that will cost Haiti $1,000,000,000, or about 11.4 percent of its gross domestic product. This includes extensive damage to Haiti’s roadways, bridges, buildings and critical infrastructure. Additionally, Hurricane Matthew resulted in tremendous destruction of Haiti’s agricultural sector with crop losses estimated to be $360 million.
 
Within the context of the terrible damage wrought by Hurricane Matthew, Haiti continues its efforts to rebuild from the 2010, 7.0 magnitude earthquake, and recover from the Cholera outbreak of the same year.
 
The United States remains steadfast in assisting Haiti with its democratic development and providing necessary assistance for reconstruction, development, and humanitarian relief. Given the continued difficult conditions in Haiti, we urge your administration to extend the TPS designation, within all applicable rules and regulations, for Haitian nationals who are currently living in, and contributing to, our great country.
 
Sincerely,
 
Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress
 
Bill Nelson
United States Senator
 
Marco Rubio
United States Senator
 
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Member of Congress
 
Mario Diaz-Balart
Member of Congress
 
Ted Deutch
Member of Congress
 
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Member of Congress
 
Carlos Curbelo
Member of Congress
 
Frederica Wilson
Member of Congress
 
Lois Frankel
Member of Congress
 
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

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