The Biden administration’s announcement of an extension of temporary protected status (TPS) for Haitian immigrants gave “a much-needed sense of security and relief” and was celebrated by local and state politicians and community leaders over the weekend.
“This decision is very important for the Haitian community in New York and throughout the United States, because it provides a much-needed sense of security and relief for those who are working hard to support themselves and raise a family while providing valuable services to this country,” Brooklyn Councilmember Mathieu Eugene said at a gathering at Flatbush’s Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church.
“These are individuals who are doing the jobs that support the local economy and have kept our country moving forward, and they embody a work ethic and dedication that has always defined the perseverance of the immigrant community.”
Eugene was joined by State Senator Kevin Parker and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, who he thanked – along with immigrant advocates – for voicing the “urgent need” to extend the status for Haitian residents.
Schumer said Brooklyn’s Haitian community were “great Americans, you are the American dream.”
“You work hard for yourselves and your community, and by working hard you create a better community for Brooklyn, for New York, and for The United States,” he said.
“Immigrants are our future, and immigrants like the people from Haiti are our future. It’s a beautiful community. Haiti will remain for us a symbol of freedom, self-determination, of independence, the first nation to abolish slavery before the United States, and to establish a republic in its own image.”
The decision could affects more than 100,000 Haitians living in the U.S., advocates say.
In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said security concerns, social unrest, human rights abuses and crippling poverty in Haiti, which were all exacerbated by the 2010 earthquake, were some of the reasons for extending the status.
Haiti was originally designated for TPS following the earthquake, and the status was extended several times until the Trump administration tried to end it. TPS allows immigrants from designated countries to live and work in the U.S.