WASHINGTON—On November 20,the Department of Homeland Security announced termination of TemporaryProtected Status (TPS) for Haiti. TPS is a temporary, renewable, andstatutorily-authorized humanitarian migration program that permits individualsto remain and work lawfully in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemedunsafe for nationals of that country to return home. There are an estimated50,000 Haitian TPS recipients living in the U.S.
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCBCommittee on Migration (USCCB/COM), issued the following statement in response:
"Yesterday's decision to terminate TPS for Haiti is deeplytroubling. As discussed in our recent delegationtrip report, Haiti is not yet in a position where it can safely accept returnof the estimated 50,000 Haitian nationals who have received TPS. This decisionwill devastate many families with TPS members, including those with U.S.citizen children. It will tear individuals from their loved ones, homes,careers, and communities. It will also have direct negative consequences formany in Haiti who rely on remittances for vital support.
Our nation has a responsibility to provide continued temporaryprotection until TPS holders' return and reintegration can be safelyaccomplished. Catholic Social Teaching recognizes a duty to not turn our backson our neighbors in need. Scripture states: 'If someone who has worldly meanssees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of Godremain in him?' (1 John 3:17). Our Haitianneighbors, at home and abroad, need our compassion while their country rebuildsand recovers. Yesterday's decision ignores such needs.
The Administration has provided an 18-month period during whichTPS recipients from Haiti can legally stay in the United States and prepare fortheir departure. While this time is appreciated, it will not remedy theprotection concerns and family separation that Haitian TPS recipients willface.
Congress needs to find a legislative solution for long-term TPSrecipients and enact legislation that keeps these families together.
Our prayers and continued support are with the Haitian peoplewho have deep ties to our communities, parishes, and country. They arebusinesses owners, successful professionals, home owners, and parents of U.S.citizen children and most importantly, they are children of God."
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S.Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Departmentof Homeland Security, Haiti, migration, families, children, Catholicsocial teaching.
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