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Mayor Walsh's letter requesting to extend temporary protected status for Haiti

May 16, 2017

Mayor's Office

Published by:

Mayor's Office

Mayor Martin J. Walsh sent letters to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly about an extension.

You can read Mayor Walsh's letter below:

On behalf of the Haitian community in the City of Boston, I write to urge you to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians living in the U.S. until Haiti is sufficiently stable for their safe return.

Haiti has been decimated by a series of devastating events. In 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake killed over 300,000 people and displaced 1.5 million more. 300,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Today, at least 40,000 people are still homeless and living in camps as a result of the earthquake. Following the earthquake, international aid workers inadvertently introduced cholera, which has sickened 100,000 and killed 9,200 people to date. Less than a year ago, Category 4 Hurricane Matthew struck, further spreading water-borne cholera and leaving 1.25 million Haitians without access to safe drinking water. More than 800,000 Haitians are in desperate need of emergency food assistance.

Failure to extend TPS for Haiti would have a negative impact on the U.S. and Haitian economies, endangering lives, further destabilizing Haiti, and potentially separating families. The Haitian government recently indicated that it is not in a position to accept the approximately 50,000 Haitian TPS holders in the U.S. back into the country because their repatriation would only worsen an already precarious situation. The Haitian Foreign Minister has advised that an extension of TPS would afford the Haitian government much needed time to undertake projects to improve living conditions in the country. This request by the Haitian government is clearly telling that the country conditions in Haiti warrant an extension of TPS for at least 18 months.

It is in the U.S. national interest to extend TPS for Haitians. Haitian TPS holders across our country make vital contributions to our economy, including key industries such as health and elder care. In fact, a recent study from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center showed that Haitian TPS holders contribute $280 million to the U.S. GDP and $42 million to Medicare and Social Security annually. In addition to major economic contributions, due to the length of the crisis in Haiti, many TPS holders now have U.S. citizen children. Undoubtedly, ending TPS before Haiti is safe would result in the breakup of families in communities across the country, as parents would be unwilling to put their children in harm’s way. Finally, Haitian TPS holders in the U.S. work hard to send money home to family members still in Haiti. Ending TPS would take away this lifeline, needlessly destabilizing a country that is struggling to rebuild.

The Boston metro area is home to the third largest Haitian community in the United States. There are 16,000 Haitian immigrants and nationals who live in the City of Boston, and many more come to Boston for work and leisure every day from neighboring cities and towns. The Haitian diaspora has enriched and strengthened our City in immeasurable ways. It is our moral imperative as Americans to stand with those in need, and I urge you to exercise your discretion to extend TPS for Haitians until they can safely return to Haiti.

Sincerely,

Martin J. Walsh
Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts