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Haitians need our protection

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As the proud Mayor of one of the largest Haitian communities in the United States, I am once again calling on the Department of Homeland Security to extend Temporary Protected Status to Haiti.

While conditions in Haiti remain unstable, the Trump administration is aggressively deporting people. Temporary Protected Status for Haiti expires July 22nd. That is much too soon.

There is a Haitian proverb that says, “Beyond the mountains, more mountains.” It refers to the beauty of Haiti’s landscape and the wisdom of a people who have learned that one hardship often follows another.

In 2010, the country was rocked by a massive earthquake that killed approximately 150,000 people. Following the aftershocks came cholera, which has taken at least 9,000 lives so far. In October of last year, Hurricane Matthew struck, destroying buildings, bridges, crops and human lives.

Created in 1990 and signed into law by the first President Bush, Temporary Protected Status gives the U.S. a way to provide a refuge for people who cannot safely return to their homes due to environmental catastrophe or violence. That is exactly the situation for Haitians.

I called for Temporary Protected Status to be extended to Haiti in 2010 and again in 2016.

The New York City Council passed a resolution by Haitian-American Council Member Mathieu Eugene supporting an extension. New York State Assembly member, Rodneyse Bichotte, the first Haitian American in the city elected to the Assembly, has called on Washington to do the same.

There is now a bill in Congress, introduced by my good friend Rep. Yvette Clarke and co-sponsored by many other members of the New York delegation that would give Haiti another 18 months of Temporary Protected Status.

New York City is home to nearly 100,000 Haitian immigrants. In this ultimate city of immigrants, we must do everything we can to protect and uplift this great community.

Updated 4:59 pm, May 22, 2017
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