HIAS Applauds Extension and Re-Designation of TPS to Haiti

Posted on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 21:04 pm

(New York, NY) – HIAS, the international migration agency of the American Jewish community, applauds the extension and re-designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the United States.

TPS is a provision of U.S. immigration law that allows the Administration to grant temporary refuge to a designated group of individuals in the United States. TPS may be granted to nationals of a country if conditions in the country pose a danger to personal safety due to ongoing armed conflict or an environmental disaster.

Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced that it would extend TPS for Haitians for another 18 months. Without the extension, TPS would have expired on July 23rd, 2011 – it now will continue until January 2013. The Administration also decided to allow Haitians who arrived in the U.S. by January 12th, 2011, a year after the earthquake, to apply for TPS. Until yesterday, only Haitians who arrived before the earthquake were eligible.

According to Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ Senior Director for U.S. Policy and Advocacy, “most Haitians in the U.S. are unable to return to their country because so little progress has been made since the earthquake, and Haiti remains unable to absorb them. By staying here they are able to provide important economic and social support for their family members in Haiti.”

While HIAS welcomes the extension and expansion of TPS, HIAS is deeply concerned about DHS’ resumption of deportations to Haiti. Haiti still faces severe humanitarian crisis, with more than one million homeless and an ongoing cholera epidemic.

For many decades, HIAS has been an advocate for the fair treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum seekers who have reached our shores, and in the wake of the humanitarian crisis following the January 2010 earthquake, HIAS was among the first national organizations to publicly urge that Haitians in the U.S. be provided with TPS. Through HIAS, the Jewish community has had a strong voice at the table, offering technical advice, constructive criticism of government policy – and a message that the Jewish community deeply cares about humanitarian relief efforts to help the Haitian community out of this tragic period.

Click here for more information on HIAS’ advocacy on issues regarding Haitian migration to the U.S.