Haitian TPS Extended for Six Months by Trump Administration, Leaving Immigrant Community Uncertain About Future

Why my Faith Compels me to Support Protective Status for Haitians Fleeing Disaster

by Ronald J. Degges, President of Disciples Home Missions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

RNS (May 9, 2017) — As a Christian, I’m called by my faith to stand with the vulnerable and love my neighbor. As president of Disciples Home Missions, I am grateful to demonstrate these values in my daily life and weekly ministries throughout the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S.

But it is also because of those values that I am deeply disturbed by recent hateful and xenophobic sentiment espoused by my fellow Christians and Americans. Such sentiment sends an unwelcoming and mean-spirited message of exclusion to refugee families fleeing violence and persecution. Read full story.

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

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 GreaterAs1.org.

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 cliniclegal.org/email.

Urge Congress & DHS to Protect Our Haitian Neighbors!

(April 26, 2017) Right now, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering whether or not to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of Haitians in the United States, which is set to expire on July 22, 2017. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is recommending that the United States end TPS for Haitians altogether in January 2018. In 2010, an earthquake devastated Haiti, and in its wake, the U.S. government pledged to provide protection through TPS for Haitians already in the United States. Today, about 58,000 Haitians, who were in the United States since January 12, 2011, have been able to rebuild their lives, work, and raise a family in safety, while their remittances support loved ones in Haiti.

The catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 impeded Haiti’s recovery. Tens of thousands of homes and schools were destroyed, as well as agricultural crops and livestock, which resulted in widespread food insecurity and exacerbated the cholera epidemic – already the worst in the world. All of these realities exacerbated economic instability in Haiti.

To let TPS for Haiti expire or end it altogether would mean turning our backs on the vulnerable Haitians whom we pledged to welcome, and would place considerable burdens on the country as it struggles to recover from multiple natural disasters. TPS was created to provide protection to those in the United States when it is unsafe for their return home – precisely the conditions Haiti faces. TPS must be extended for at least another 18 months. To do otherwise would be an affront to our American values of hospitality, generosity, and compassion. See full alert.