Dear Faith-based organizations and faith leaders:

Please consider signing onto this national, state, and local letter urging Secretary Kelly to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian immigrants. This letter was authored by Catholic Legal Immigration Network in consultation with our affiliate network, Church World Service, and other immigrant advocates and organizations. We welcome the input and support of the faith community from across faith traditions.

WHO CAN SIGN ON? We are currently only accepting faith-based organizations or faith leader signatories (including religious non-profits, congregations, and clergy).

To sign on, click here for our google form: Faith leaders will be listed on the letter with their title, first & last name, and congregation/affiliation.  Faith-based organizations will be listed with their organization name only, unless they request otherwise.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. If you have any questions, please contact Jill Marie Bussey at [email protected] or 301-565-4844 or Meredith Owen at [email protected].

 

Here is the link to the letter.

For a full list of signatories so far, click here

Here is the full text of the letter, below.

 

Honorable John F. Kelly

Secretary

Department of Homeland Security

3801 Nebraska Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20016

RE: Request to Extend Temporary Protected Status for Haiti

Dear Secretary Kelly:

On behalf of the XXX undersigned national, state, and local faith-based organizations, as well as XXX faith leaders from across traditions, we respectfully request that you extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians for 18 months as dangerous conditions continue to persist in Haiti, posing a serious risk to the health and safety of Haitian TPS holders if they were to be returned to the country. To allow TPS for Haiti to expire would mean turning our backs on the vulnerable Haitians whom we pledged to welcome, and would place considerable burdens on the country as it struggles to recover from multiple natural disasters. TPS was created to provide protection to those in the United States when it is unsafe for their return home – precisely the conditions Haiti faces today.

Extending Haitian TPS is in the national interest, as Haitian TPS holders are a self-sufficient and industrious segment of the U.S. economy and are providing invaluable economic support to family members still in Haiti, preventing further destabilization of the country. Allowing Haitian TPS holders to remain safely in the U.S. until Haiti is sufficiently stable honors our closely-held moral, religious, and American values to stand for the human rights and dignity of all people, here and abroad. TPS should be extended. To do otherwise would be inconsistent with our values of hospitality, generosity, and compassion.

Food insecurity, disease, and instability persist in Haiti

The Haitian people have faced a series of cataclysmic events. TPS was first granted to eligible Haitians in the U.S. in 2010, following a 7.0 magnitude earthquake[1] which displaced 1.5 million people and caused catastrophic damage to the country’s infrastructure.[2] 300,000 buildings were leveled in Port-au-Prince alone.[3] 60,000 people are still homeless as a result of the earthquake and living in camps seven years later.[4] United Nations humanitarian efforts following the earthquake introduced cholera – now the worst cholera epidemic in the world – killing at least 9,200 people and sickening nearly 100,000 others to date.[5] Thousands of people continue to be sickened by the disease every year[6], which leads to severe dehydration, blood sugar shock, and organ failure and can kill a person in a matter of hours.[7]

Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in October 2016, which devastated the country and impeded Haiti’s recovery. The category 4 hurricane impacted two million people and resulted in $2.7 billion in damage, approximately 32 percent of Haiti’s GDP.[8] Tens of thousands of homes and schools were destroyed, as well as agricultural crops and livestock, exacerbating widespread hunger, political and economic instability, and the waterborne cholera epidemic. The storm surge and widespread flooding has left 1.25 million Haitians, including 800,000 children, without access to safe drinking water.[9] More than 800,000 Haitians were left in dire need of immediate food assistance as a result of the hurricane’s destruction.[10]

The events of the past seven years in Haiti are unprecedented and the country remains unstable despite substantial efforts and progress made by the Haitian people and international community. Although poverty has plagued Haiti for generations, the temporary and extreme conditions in the country are a direct result of multiple environmental disasters and “the worst cholera outbreak in recent history,” as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[11] The country needs more time to recover before Haitian nationals in the U.S. can safely return.

Extending Haitian TPS until the country is stable is in the U.S. national interest

There are approximately 50,000 Haitian TPS holders living in the U.S., peacefully raising families, and participating in the economy. Haitian TPS holders contribute $280 million to the U.S. GDP and $42 million to Social Security and to Medicare each year.[12]

Haitian TPS holders are also making substantial contributions to keeping Haiti as stable as possible as the country rebuilds. According to a February 2016 report, remittances to Haiti exceeded $2 billion – or 22.7 percent of Haiti’s GDP in 2015[13]; $1.3 billion coming from the U.S.[14] Removing this vital lifeline would likely result in an increase in asylum seekers from Haiti, already on the upswing.[15]

Ending TPS while the country is so unsafe would cost American taxpayers, as it is likely the U.S. will be forced to resort to deporting many TPS holders to remove them from the country, at a cost of $10,070 per person.[16] Terminating TPS would also result in a loss of $2.8 billion in GDP and $428 million in Social Security and Medicare contributions over a decade.[17] Finally, Haiti’s current country conditions would force Haitian parents with U.S. citizen children to make the impossible decision to leave their children behind, ripping apart families and needlessly scarring a generation of Haitian Americans.

Our collective moral, religious, and American values call for extending Haitian TPS

Extending TPS for Haitians is a compassionate, just, and pragmatic choice for both Americans and Haitians. Giving Haiti more time to rebuild and recover from the extraordinary events of the past seven years will protect the lives of vulnerable people and mitigate strains on the U.S. economy and immigration system. DHS should be responding to this humanitarian crisis by upholding our promises to the Haitian people and by allowing Haitians to seek safety here in the United States. As members of faith-based organizations across the country, we urge you to join us in standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our Haitian brothers and sisters in need.

 

Sincerely,

XXX

 

[1] Designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status [75 FR 3476] [FR 5-10], January 21, 2010, available at https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/FR/HTML/FR/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-204297/0-0-0-204369/0-0-0-204372.html

[2] Haiti Earthquake Fast Facts, CNN, Dec. 28, 2016, available at http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/12/world/haiti-earthquake-fast-facts/

[3] Haiti earthquake victims still homeless, struggling to rebuild six years after disaster, ABC News, Jan. 12, 2016, available at

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-13/haiti-struggles-to-rebuild-6-years-after-earthquake/7085174

[4] Haiti earthquake victims still homeless, struggling to rebuild six years after disaster, ABC News, Jan. 12, 2016, available at

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-13/haiti-struggles-to-rebuild-6-years-after-earthquake/7085174

[5] Cholera Deaths in Haiti Could Far Exceed Official Count, NY Times, March 18, 2016, available at   https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/19/world/americas/cholera-deaths-in-haiti-could-far-exceed-official-count.html?_r=0

[6] U.N. Admits Role In Haiti Cholera Outbreak That Has Killed Thousands, NPR News, Aug. 18, 2016, available at

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/18/490468640/u-n-admits-role-in-haiti-cholera-outbreak-that-has-killed-thousands

[7] Cholera, available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cholera/symptoms-causes/dxc-20311185

[8] U.N. News Centre, UN calls for support to recovery plan as Haiti loses $2.7 billion in Hurricane Matthew, March 7, 2017, available at http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56294#.WNsqwZArLrd

[9] UNICEF, HAITI Humanitarian Situation Report #10, Oct. 18, 2016, available at www.unicef.org/appeals/files/UNICEF_Haiti_Humanitarian_SitRep_on_Hurricane_Matthew_No.10______20_October_2016.pdf

[10] Food Security of 800,000 Haitians seriously threatened after passage of Hurricane Matthew, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Oct. 26, 2016, available at http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/448035/icode/

[11] Cholera in Haiti, https://www.cdc.gov/cholera/haiti/index.html

[12] Amanda Baran, Jose Magana-Salgado and Tom K. Wong, Economic Contributions by Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS Holders, Immigrant Legal Resource Center Policy Report, April 2017, available at https://www.ilrc.org/report-tps-economic-cost

[13] Manuel Orozco, Laura Porras, and Julia Yansura, The Continued Growth of Family Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015, Inter-American Dialogue, February 2016, at 4, available at file:///home/chronos/u-bf647dd50f9b3fb8eb3375036ebe074e7d58f6a0/Downloads/2015-Remittances-to-LAC-2122016.pdf

[14] Migration Policy Institute, Remittance Flows Worldwide in 2015, August 31, 2016, available at http://www.pewglobal.org/interactives/remittance-map/

[15] Sandra Dibble, Tijuana shelters cope with spike in foreign migrants, The San Diego Union Tribune, June 11, 2016, available at http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/border-baja-california/sdut-asylum-seekers-flood-tijuana-shelters-2016jun11-story.html

[16] Amanda Baran, Jose Magana-Salgado and Tom K. Wong, Economic Contributions by Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS Holders, Immigrant Legal Resource Center Policy Report, April 2017, available at https://www.ilrc.org/report-tps-economic-cost

[17] Amanda Baran, Jose Magana-Salgado and Tom K. Wong, Economic Contributions by Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS Holders, Immigrant Legal Resource Center Policy Report, April 2017, available at https://www.ilrc.org/report-tps-economic-cost