By Sam Bojarski
Nearly 60,000 Haitians living in the United States with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) protections can live without fear of deportation proceedings for another nine months.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice detailing the extension on Dec. 9. TPS documentation, which was formerly set to expire next month, is now valid until Oct. 4, 2021, under the extension.
Guerline Jozef, executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, a nonprofit coalition that serves Black immigrants, said she welcomed the extension as a short-term solution.
“The nine-month extension is good to give us some time to get a more permanent solution to this whole saga,” Jozef said. “No lives should be lived nine months at a time.”
In September, an appeals court overturned a lower court’s injunction barring the administration of President Donald Trump from terminating TPS. However, the appeals court has not issued a directive making its ruling effective.
The injunction issued in the Ramos v. Nielsen lawsuit remains in effect. DHS also noted in its Dec. 9 memo detailing the extension that it continues to comply with a separate injunction issued by a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York.
In addition to having valid documentation through Oct. 4, 2021, TPS holders can apply for new employment authorization documents if necessary, according to DHS.
The Haitian Bridge Alliance has advocated for TPS holders to receive permanent protection, including permanent residency status, from the U.S. government, Jozef said.
In October, the Biden campaign announced that it would review Trump’s decision to terminate TPS during its first 100 days in office and offer a pathway to citizenship for “long-time TPS holders.”
As Haitian-Americans flocked to the polls in November, they cited the uncertain fate of TPS holders as a leading reason motivating them to vote.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jozef said, Haitian TPS holders have worked in essential industries like transportation and health care, in addition to owning businesses.
“Those people we always knew were essential workers, were essential to the lives of Americans, have been proven to be just that,” Jozef said. “[They are] in the forefront, risking their lives and their families in order to care for America.”
Porez Luxama, executive director of the Brooklyn-based Life of Hope Center, which serves nearly 1,000 Haitian TPS holders, said the upcoming 11th anniversary of the January 2010 earthquake underscores the importance of allowing TPS holders to remain in the country as permanent residents.
“After 11 years, people become part of the community,” Luxama said, of TPS holders. “These people certainly aren’t going back.”