In a letter sent to president Barack Obama on Friday, January 15, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked the White House to designate the country of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
“It is clear that Haiti merits an immediate designation of TPS after suffering the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake of January 12, one of the worst in Haitian history,” Cardinal George said in the letter.
TPS permits nationals of a designated nation living in the United States to reside here legally and qualify for work authorization. TPS designation is based upon determination that armed conflict, political unrest, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions exist in a nation and that the return of that country’s nationals would further destabilize the nation and potentially bring harm to those returned.
Cardinal George said that “it is important that Haitians in the United States are allowed to receive legal status and obtain work authorization, as a designation of TPS would provide. These Haitians then would be better able to assist their families in Haiti through remittances and by working together as a community to garner other resources for their stricken homeland.”
Citing the language contained in the statute itself, Cardinal George urged the President to act on this matter.
“[B]y any measure, the conditions in Haiti meet the statutory requirements for TPS… Extending this mantle of protection to struggling Haiti is not only appropriate, but a just, compassionate, and concrete step the United States can take toward alleviating the human suffering of the Haitian people.”