Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lawmakers Push Special Immigration Status For Haitians


[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="195" caption="U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings calls granting Haitians Temporary Protected Status 'imperative.'"]U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings calls granting Haitians Temporary Protected Status imperative.[/caption]

With Haiti taking a vicious blow this hurricane season by back-to-back storms, Congressional leaders Tuesday urged authorities to grant temporary protected status for undocumented Haitians living in the United States.

''It is now more imperative than ever that the United States grant Haitian immigrants Temporary Protected Status,'' U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings said before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

''TPS is the least expensive, most immediate form of humanitarian assistance we can provide Haiti,'' Hastings said at the morning session broadcast live on the Internet. ``It allows the Haitian government to invest all of its limited resources in rebuilding and redevelopment.''

Congressional leaders also called for $300 million in disaster assistance to help with recovery efforts in a country struck by four storms that killed more than 300 people. Haiti began three days of official mourning on Monday. If implemented, TPS allows undocumented residents to stay temporarily and obtain work permits. Activists argue that TPS would enable residents to work here and then send money to relatives back in Haiti.

Last week, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement temporarily suspended deportations to Haiti until further notice. But the suspension applies only to those in custody who are awaiting deportation. It does not provide any benefits for those in the country illegally.

Officials have said they are reviewing conditions on the ground on a day-to-day basis to determine when deportations might resume.

Source: MiamiHerald.Com

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