Several local Long Island legislators gathered on May 18th, Haitian Flag Day, to hold a press conference and advocate for the renewal of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians. State Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, State Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages, Suffolk County Legislator DuWayne Gregory and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright all gathered in New Birth Christian Church in West Babylon to discuss the importance of the TPS program to the local Haitian community.
“This is the time when we look at how important it is to give back to those in need. This is a humanitarian issue and we must make sure TPS is renewed,” Councilwoman Cartwright said to the group of reporters, “[If it is not renewed] It will have a devastating effect not only in Haiti, also here, in this country.” Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre added to this sentiment: “This is about changing lives and saving lives.”
“There are so many families here in the New York metro area and all over the U.S. who want to be good citizens and who want to stay here legally, and who add to our economy,” Assemblywoman Solages said. All those who spoke advocated for the renewal of the program for at least 18 months as Haiti continues to rebuild after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew.
There are over 50,000 Haitians in the United States with TPS. The current Haitian TPS program expires on July 22, 2017, but many worry that it will not be renewed because of internal e-mails at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) searching for cases of Haitians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) committing crimes or collecting public benefits.
Watch the entire press conference in the video below: