Clarke urges Congress to help Haitian nationals

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, on Thursday, Feb. 9, urged her colleagues in Congress to work together to aid the people of Haiti at this crucial time, in a bill she drafted to expand the temporary Protection Status (TPS) program to include all Haitian nationals who were in the United States prior to Nov. 4, 2016.

The Congresswoman made this statement to address the Haitian Emergency Relief Act of 2017 that would grant 18 months of TPS to every eligible individual.

“Temporary Protect Status for Haitian nationals living in the United States was established after the devastating earthquake in 2010 to allow Haiti to start the process of recovery and to provide invaluable support in the form of remittances to family members there,” she said.

The program the statement added was created — and extended — based on need. Those needs have increased since Haiti suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Matthew last year, when hundreds of people were killed and thousands of families were displaced.

However, despite the difficulties in Haiti, the Department of Homeland Security previously refused to grant TPS to Haitians who reached the United States after 2011, excluding thousands of people who would deservedly benefit.

Congresswoman, Clarke said Congress must act. If enacted, the Haiti Emergency Relief Act of 2017 would allow Haitian nationals to maintain their remittances, which amount to about 25 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, and the people of Haiti to continue the process of recovery, she said .

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