Menendez, Booker Question Termination of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians

Menendez, Booker Question Termination of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians

Senators call termination ‘deeply troubling,’ question whether it was ‘politically motivated’

   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Cory Booker, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined a group of 12 senators calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to explain what they call a “deeply troubling and potentially politically motivated” decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the United States.

“The November 2017 decision to terminate Haiti’s TPS designation marked a stunning reversal of this assessment of the conditions in Haiti,” the senators wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna. “Moreover, in light of the president’s widely reported offensive comments about Haiti and African nations being ‘s***hole countries,’ these documents raise serious questions regarding whether the Administration’s decision to terminate Haiti’s TPS was based on the conditions in Haiti – as required by law – or whether the decision resulted from broader political concerns, including an animus towards the country and its nationals.”

There are an estimated 3,400 Haitians TPS holders, and 1,100 U.S.-born children to Haitian TPS holders, living in New Jersey, according to the Center for American Progress.

In their letter, the senators point to an October 2017 USCIS report that described current conditions in Haiti as “vulnerable to external shocks and internal fragility,” and further concluded that Haiti is “unable to adequately respond to a wide range of persistent humanitarian needs”, including food insecurity, internal displacement, and the continued presence of cholera. Yet, just a few months later, USCIS and Homeland Security contradicted its own assessment of Haiti’s conditions and, in rescinding TPS for 58,000 Haitians, characterized the situation on the island nation as no longer needing the designation. The Senators call for the immediate reconsideration of the termination of Haiti’s TPS designation.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Also signing the letter are Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).