Menendez Hosts Local Haitian Community Leaders for Strategy Session on Protecting TPS and DACA

Menendez Hosts Local Haitian Community Leaders for Strategy Session on Protecting TPS and DACA


NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today met with local New Jersey elected officials and clergy leaders to discuss the most-pressing issues facing the Haitian community.  Held in his Newark office, the roundtable discussion served as an opportunity to discuss efforts to protect Haitian immigrants living in New Jersey who will be impacted by President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program, and to strategize on ways to pressure the Trump Administration not to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program as part of its anti-immigrant agenda.

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“Like everyone else here, I have seen firsthand how both TPS and DACA recipients contribute to New Jersey’s communities, work hard, and are invaluable to the future of our nation,” said Sen. Menendez. “But in the face of the most anti-immigrant wave in recent memory, it was very important for me to regroup with these community leaders to discuss ways to support New Jersey’s Haitian community more than ever. The thoughtful conversation today will help us coordinate strategies and work together to provide the tools needed to help both Haitian DACA recipients who desperately need Congress to pass a DREAM act, and TPS recipients who are increasingly afraid they will be next on this Administration cruel anti-immigrant guillotine. This fight will not be easy, but we are lockstep in what needs to be done: The focus of our government should be on disaster assistance and recovery, not on returning Haitian nationals to a country lacking the capacity to support them.”   

The TPS program, established by the U.S. Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990, is a temporary, renewable program that provides relief from deportation and access to a work permit for certain foreign nationals from 10 different countries who are unable to safely return to their home country. Senator Menendez has led the effort in Congress to extend TPS designation for Haiti, writing to the Trump administration making the case for a swift renewal after a leaked USCIS memo showed officials were recommending the program be unjustifiably ended, and also cautioning DHS to keep its extension review within the bounds dictated by Congress.

 “TPS and DACA recipients understand and fully appreciate the safety which the programs have offered them, and we appreciate the contribution they make to the fabric of this country.  These programs have been a beacon of hope for recipients, and I will fight tooth and nail to protect TPS and get a clean DREAM Act passed into law in lieu of DACA,” concluded Menendez.

Just last week, Menendez joined Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries, their families, and community leaders for a rally in front of the Federal Building in Newark to present evidence of the socioeconomic contributions by TPS recipients across the country to make the case against ending the program in the name of nativist fearmongering.

Participating in today’s roundtable discussion where: President Stan Neron, City of Elizabeth School Board; Freeholder Gerard Balmir, Jr., Hudson County; Minister Judith  Fenelus, Chief of Staff to Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter; Rev. Jean Maurice, Temple of Unified Christians Brick Church, East Orange; Bishop Pierre Lehrisson; and Rev. Carlos Nazaire.