U.S. Senators and Representatives from Florida wrote to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kelly asking him to extend Haiti’s TPS designation when the current 18-month period expires on July 22. They emphasized Haiti’s continuing struggle to rebuild after the 2010 earthquake and 2016 Hurricane Matthew, as well as the cholera epidemic. Signatories include US Senators Rubio and Nelson and US Representatives Alcee Hastings, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ted Deutch, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Carlos Curbelo, Frederica Wilson, and Lois Frankel.
Part of the letter is below. Read the full letter here.
March 24, 2017
Honorable John F. Kelly
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 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.