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Miami Advocates Call on Senator Rubio to Lead Legislative Fight for 50K Haitians Facing Deportation After End of TPS


01/08/18 DHS Decision Deadline for Salvadorans with TPS: 31 DAYS

 A recording of today’s call is available here.

MIAMI, FL — On a press call this morning, Miami advocates, Haitian activists and policy experts called for legislation that provides a permanent solution for over 50,000 Haitians nationals who lost Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as well as others, and urged Florida legislators such as Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to lead the way. Speakers also urged DHS to extend TPS for 200,000 Salvadorans, given that deadline is right around the corner on January 8, 2018.

Marleine Bastien, Executive Director, Haitian Women of Miami, said:

This decision to terminate TPS for Haitians has thrown 50,000 people into a state of turmoil and panic. Just imagine living in a country for many years and you’re told you have a mere 18 months to pack your bags and leave everything behind. It’s mind boggling.

There are two names that have been noticeably absent from discussions of finding a permanent legislative solution for TPS holders: Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and Senator Marco Rubio. Right now, we do not see Senator Rubio’s name on any pending bills in the Senate.  We believe it is time for Senator Rubio, who has such a powerful presence and such a strong line of communication with the administration, to take the lead in finding the permanent solution for the 58,000 Haitians left in jeopardy and other TPS holders in similar situations. We ask Senator Rubio why we haven’t seen him introduce a bill or join the current bill on the floor.  Our families are suffering.  The economy is suffering.  We are deeply rooted in our communities. Senator Rubio, we need to hear your voice and we need to hear it right now.

Wendi Adelson, Executive Director, IMPAC Fund, said:

The negative decisions on TPS that have come down so far, first and foremost, have been devastating for our families and communities; in terms of the economy, these are also terrible decisions. On a state level, It is good and important for Florida’s economy to keep workers here. There are approximately 21,900 workers in Florida who are TPS holders; Florida would lose $1.2 billion in state GDP without TPS holders hailing from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. There is no question that losing this huge amount of money from our state will have a devastating impact on our economy.  At IMPAC fund, we are demanding a permanent legislative solution. We need the support of Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. We need solutions that are good for our communities and good for our economy as well.

Frank Mora, Director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center and Professor in the Department of Politics & International Relations at Florida International University, said:

Most TPS countries do not have the capacity to re-accept those individuals who have been forced to migrate to the United States.  For example, El Salvador is currently experiencing a national crisis, but many businesses are starting there as a direct result of remittances sent back from TPS holders living in the United States.  Those of us who are interested in stability and security and improving our relations with others in these countries, then, should take care not to undermine the abilities of these nations to become more stable.

Now, it seems that President Trump is going back to address the symptoms of the problem rather than the stem of the issues. There is no appropriation that goes to helping these countries absorb deportees from the U.S. The current approach of the administration deals heavily with security problems and ignores the question of how to best aid TPS countries in their absorbing and receiving of deportees. These countries have told the U.S. about the pressures they have faced because of these deportees, and have been met with little to no support.

Frank Sharry, Founder and Executive Director, America’s Voice Education Fund, said:

The Trump Administration is making a series of decisions regarding TPS for nationals of countries that have beset by violence and natural disasters. Most of the decisions have been negative. Recently, DHS ended TPS for thousands of individuals from Haiti. As we all know, Haiti was devastated by an earthquake in 2010 and has yet to recover. It is regrettable that the Administration has decided to end TPS for these people. The idea of the 18 month phase-out period is unreasonable; it is not realistic to expect Haiti to be in a condition to receive tens of thousands of people. Legislators, starting with Senator Marco Rubio — who represents a state with an ample Haitian community and other TPS communities — need to step up and make sure that Haitians and others are protected. In addition, January 8th’s El Salvador decision could result in a similar termination, eventually upending the lives of some 200,000 Salvadorans. The answer is legislation that provides a permanent solution for TPS holders.


Correction: It was stated in an earlier version of this press statement that Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) had not been involved in legislation to provide a permanent solution to TPS holders; in fact, he’s a co-sponsor of a bill to do just that.