HIAS Urges U.S. to Grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians in Wake of Disaster

Posted on Wed, Jan 13, 2010 at 17:16 pm

(New York, NY ) HIAS, the international migration agency of the American Jewish community, strongly urges the U.S. government to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians currently in the U.S., in wake of the earthquake that devastated much of Haiti yesterday.

To that end, HIAS, has joined the Refugees Council USA and 24 other refugee agencies in sending a letter today to Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, calling upon the Obama Administration to quickly arrange TPS for Haitians.

According to Gideon Aronoff, President and CEO of HIAS, “In this tragedy, it is important that the wealthiest country in the Western hemisphere assists the poorest country with a comprehensive strategy. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones and whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed in this natural disaster. Many of the Haitians in the U.S. are unable to return to their homeland because of the infrastructure chaos there, yet by staying here they are able to provide important economic and social support for their family members in Haiti. Any issuance of a TPS should be accompanied by a stay of the current DHS interdiction and return policy of Haitians fleeing by sea to the U.S.”

TPS establishes a legislative basis for allowing a group of persons temporary refuge in the United States. Under a provision of the Immigration Act of 1990, the Attorney General may designate nationals of a foreign state eligible for TPS with a finding that conditions in that country pose a danger to personal safety due to ongoing armed conflict or an environmental disaster.