City Comptroller Scott Stringer is calling on President Donald Trump and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to designate Caribbean countries hit by the recent waves of powerful hurricanes in the region, eligible for Temporary Protective Status (TPS). In a letter addressed to the President, the city’s finance boss said the destruction many of these countries suffered makes them qualified for the short-term permit.
“Hurricane Irma was a storm of unprecedented severity, causing serious and in many cases overwhelming damage to nationals of these countries in its path,” stated Stringer. “The impacted countries are clearly eligible for TPS, and forcing foreign nationals of these countries to return to their home countries would present a significant threat to their safety and well-being.”
Hurricane Irma ravaged many parts of the Leeward Islands including Antigua and Barbuda — the latter island flattened by the cyclone, displacing more than 1,000 residents. Other islands such as Anguilla, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, and several Dutch and French overseas territories were also damaged by the category five storm before it calmed and touched down in Puerto Rico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Cuba, creating widespread floods. And more recently Hurricane Maria passed through St. Kitts and Nevis and caused mass wreckage on the island of Dominica.
The decision to designate a country for TPS eligibility is determined by the DHS, which will send representatives to survey the severity of the damages each country sustained from the hurricane. Aside from the U.S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico that are a part of the United States, and European overseas territories in the region, sovereign countries particularly Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica will need assistance and assured nationals of these countries of alternative homes in the city.
“As you know New York City is home to a diverse population of immigrants from around the globe, including many from the Caribbean region,” Stringer said. “These New Yorkers help make our city the vibrant and cultural and economic leader that it is. I urge you to act quickly to provide these New Yorkers with the protections they deserve as we continue to work as a nation to help the affected countries rebuild.”