More Than 400 Faith Leaders & Organizations Nationwide Urge Support for Haitians at Risk for Deportation

May 2, 2017

Call on DHS Secretary Kelly to extend Temporary Protected Status for Haiti for another 18 months

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 2, 2017) — CWS and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. announced today that 248 leaders from across faith traditions and 168 faith-based organizations delivered a letter to DHS Secretary Kelly, urging him to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS), currently set to expire in July, for at least 18 months for our Haitians neighbors in the United States.

In the wake of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, the U.S. government committed to protecting Haitians already in the United States. Today, about 58,000 Haitians have been able to rebuild their lives, work, and raise a family in safety. DHS is now considering terminating TPS for our Haitian brothers and sisters, and we call on Secretary Kelly to live up to our American values of compassion, generosity, and welcome.

“Faith in God calls on us to welcome the stranger and stand with the vulnerable. We cannot turn our backs on the vulnerable Haitians whom we pledged to welcome after the devastating natural disasters that forced thousands from their homes,” said CWS President and CEO Reverend John L. McCullough. “Terminating TPS  would violate our our closely-held moral, religious and American values to stand for the human rights and dignity of all people. As hunger, disease, and the worst cholera epidemic in the world persist in Haiti, we pray that Secretary Kelly remembers the common values we all aspire to: to love our neighbors.”

“Ending TPS for Haitians – whose country struggles to recover from an unprecedented string of catastrophic events – offends American and Catholic values,”  said Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC). “It would be cruel and unconscionable to stop protecting from deportation the 50,000 Haitian TPS holders who live and work peacefully in the United States. The ripple effects of sending Haitian TPS holders home would further destabilize that fragile country. Extending TPS is the compassionate and just approach.”

“As a Christian, my faith has taught and called me to welcome without discrimination, stand with the vulnerable, and love my neighbor,” said Rev. Dr. Ronald J. Degges, President, Disciples Home Missions, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). “I absolutely believe that my faith calls me to do everything in my power to meet our Haitian neighbors with the same welcome that our Biblical ancestors, who were once immigrants and refugees, received. We cannot call ourselves Christian and reject the most vulnerable among us. Extend TPS for Haitians for at least another 18 months. It is the American and Christian thing to do—and would honor the deep love I feel for the people of Haiti, and the many contributions they continue to offer to our communities and to our congregations.”

“Our God commands us in our scriptures like Deuteronomy 15:11 to ‘open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land,’” said Rev. Dr. Philius Nicolas, Evangelical Crusade of Fishers of Men, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Brooklyn, N.Y. “Our faith communities follow God’s word to ‘welcome the sojourner,’ and we have done this for decades by offering spiritual care, social support, health ministries, and integration resources. The Haitians now in the U.S. who have received Temporary Protected Status are indeed in great need in our land. They did not come here because they desired to leave their homeland of Haiti, but rather left because of great disasters, poverty, and dangers of disease that still continue. To separate families to make them return to such conditions would be against the values of our faith. Instead, extending TPS would actually bring great value to the United States, because we already have seen for decades how Haitians in the U.S. offer many strengths to the communities where they settle.“

Join our press call with Center for American Progress at 10:30 AM today (Tuesday) for further information: Call 877-627-6582, Conference ID: 4980094. Click here to take action and urge Secretary Kelly to extend TPS protections for Haitians in the United States for at least another 18 months.

Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about our work and join our global homebase for refugee solidarity at

The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. advocates for humane and just immigration policy. Its network of nonprofit immigration programs—300 organizations in 47 states and the District of Columbia—is the largest in the nation.  Learn more about our network, trainings and advocacy at