Temporary Protected Status
· On May 24, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) re-designated Haiti for 6 months of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), rather than the full 18 months requested by the Government of Haiti, Haiti experts in the United States, the Congressional Black Caucus, and others.
· DHS’ decision did not reflect the reality on the ground in Haiti, which include Haiti’s food scarcity crisis, cholera epidemic, and the ongoing challenges posed by the unprecedented 2010 earthquake.
· In a letter sent on Friday, November 3, the Congressional Black Caucus urged DHS, once again, to fully extend Haiti’s TPS designation for 18 months by the November 23 deadline in light of the aforementioned conditions in Haiti, as well as the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which has exacerbated these conditions.
An Independent Study Confirms that Haiti Should be Redesignated
· A recent independent statutory analysis of Haiti’s qualification for TPS found that the conditions that justified Haiti’s 2011 re-designation remain.
· The study also found that 40,000 Haitians uprooted by the 2010 earthquake are officially displaced and that many more likely remain unofficially displaced in dangerously inadequate shelters.
· The cholera epidemic that was tragically caused by international efforts to aid Haiti in 2010 more than doubled following Hurricane Matthew and is expected to directly affect more than 30,000 people by the end of 2017.
· Hurricane Matthew also exacerbated the food insecurity crisis in Haiti, placing 2.4 million Haitians – 22 percent of its population – in the grips of an acute food insecurity crisis.
Haiti Is Trying to Help Itself
· The Haitian government has been working diligently for years to improve its economy, public health conditions, and infrastructure in coordination with the United States government and international community.
· In order to accomplish this task, Haiti relies in large part on remittances that its citizens receive from TPS beneficiaries in the United States.
· Therefore, the negative consequences of terminating Haiti’s TPS designation would be twofold.
· It would end essential remittances that significantly contribute to Haiti’s recovery while also forcing the poorest republic in the Western Hemisphere to absorb the cost of reintegrating thousands of citizens all at once.
· Such actions could be catastrophic to Haiti’s recovery efforts and run counter to Congressional efforts to improve American relations in the region through the recently-passed United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act (Public Law 114-291).
Haitian Nationals are Taxpayers
· Finally, it is essential to note that Haitian TPS beneficiaries directly contribute to the United States.
· They pay taxes, spend money, contribute to Social Security and Medicare, and help promote American prosperity in numerous sectors, such as the restaurant and food service, construction, and hospitality industries.
· About 30 percent of TPS beneficiaries are homeowners, stimulating the real estate industry and contributing to the local property tax base.
· Also, one in nine TPS beneficiaries in the labor force is self-employed, meaning they not only create jobs for themselves, but likely create jobs for others.
· A recent report found that the expiration of Haitian TPS would cost America $2.8 billion over a decade in lost gross domestic product.
[ii]Amanda Baran, Jose Magaña-Salgado and Tom K. Wong, Economic Contributions by Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS Holders: The Cost to Taxpayers, GDP, and Businesses of Ending TPS (April 2017), ILRC, https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/2017-04- 18_economic_contributions_by_salvadoran_honduran_and_haitian_tps_holders.pdf.