Statement by Council Member Mathieu Eugene:
I want to express my gratitude to President Obama, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas for extending the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haiti for an additional 18 months and also for giving Haitians who arrived after last year’s earthquake an opportunity to apply for TPS.
This announcement has come at a time when Haiti is still struggling to recover and rebuild from last year’s earthquake that devastated the capital city of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. Nearly a year and a half after the earthquake struck, an estimated 1.5 million people still live under tents or in inadequate shelter with limited access to clean water and medical care. In addition, Haiti is still working to contain the spread of cholera and rebuild critical infrastructure throughout the country.
Given these conditions, I believe the federal government made a fair and just decision by extending TPS to Haiti. Thousands of Haitians living in New York City and throughout the country cannot return to their home country, including many who lost their homes and livelihoods. For this vulnerable population, TPS serves as a critical humanitarian lifeline that permits them to legally stay and work in the United States to sustain themselves and their families in Haiti.
Extending TPS for Haiti represents a huge victory for the Haitian community and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of my colleagues in the city, state and federal government, along with all the leaders in the community, immigration advocates and legal service providers who have joined me in advocating for my Haitian brothers and sisters.
Statement by Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Immigration:
I commend Secretary Napolitano for having the good sense to realize the importance of extending Temporary Protected Status for Haitians living in the United States. Given the current state of Haiti more than a year after their devastating earthquake, any removal of Haitian immigrants from the United States would have had crippling consequences and would have undermined the recovery efforts of the country. Extending this protection was morally the right thing to do.