Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Temporary Protective Status for Haitians

As we all know, a huge earthquake hit Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. We have been inundated with links to ways to contribute to disaster relief there. I hope you all made a donation.

Another thing we can do is urge the US congress and President Obama to give Temporary Protective Status for Haitians living in the US. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website:

USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:
  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
  • An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane)
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions

During a designated period, eligible individuals:

  • Are not removable from the United States
  • Cannot be detained by Department of Homeland Security.
  • Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)
  • May apply for travel authorization

Although having TPS, by itself, does not lead to permanent resident status (a green card), a TPS beneficiary may immigrate permanently under another provision of law if qualified

If the Haitians don't qualify, I don't know who does.

The NAACP has great action tools, complete with draft letter, at

This was written after the hurricanes hit Haiti in 2009 but with a little tweaking, you can still use it.

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