Over 300 CIR members signed onto a letter urging Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 58,000 Haitians living in the United States. The letter was part of an effort by physicians, clergy, and community leaders to make sure tens of thousands of Haitians were not sent back to a country that does not yet have the infrastructure and healthcare services to support them.
The Haitian TPS was granted after the 2010 earthquake and has been renewed several times. Under public pressure, Secretary Kelly announced in May a six-month extension, Haitians with temporary protected status to stay until January 22, 2018.
CIR member Dr. Natacha Pierre, a pediatrics resident from Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, recently volunteered in Haiti through a CIR Policy and Education Initiative grant. She spoke at a press conference alongside members of other unions and elected officials
“The one thing that I did see as a pediatrician there in Haiti, especially in the rural areas, in the countryside of Haiti right now—is malnutrition and infectious diseases,” Pierre said. “Those are things that are preventable in the United States but unfortunately in Haiti, malnutrition is a huge, huge issue.”
SEIU and immigrant advocacy groups continue to fight for a longer extension to avoid destabilizing families and communities.