Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti -- we should not compound their tragedy by denying them the legal protections needed to shield them from indefinite detention and forcible deportation.
In February of last year, President Obama's Department of Homeland Security followed through on a Bush administration plan and ordered the forcible repatriation of over 30,000 Haitians.
The White House just announced that it was "pausing" the deportation of Haitian refugees -- but it has refused to afford Haitians the immigration protections offered to victims of war or disaster from countries including El Salvador, Honduras, Somalia and Sudan. Simply pausing deportation falls far short of the protections advocated by human rights groups.
President Obama must order the Department of Homeland Security immediately grant Temporary Protected Status to undocumented Haitians in the U.S. This will give them protection from forcible deportation to Haiti, allow them to work legally, and start the long and difficult process of healing their families and communities. To refuse to do so would be irresponsible and immoral.
The status of Haitians should be reviewed as part of comprehensive immigration reform -- but given the devastation wrought by the earthquake, relief for undocumented Haitians in the U.S. must be secured now with the immediate granting of Temporary Protected Status.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to eligible nationals of countries that cannot safely return to their homelands because of armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
If any situation called for Temporary Protected Status, it is the current devastation in our hemisphere's poorest nation. Please sign the petition at right to take action today.