Haitians Rally Outside US Citizenship and Immigration Office In Miami to Call for Renewal of TPS
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Miami Saturday morning chanting "Donald Trump! TPS now!"
The crowd intermittently swelled off the sidewalks on either side of NW 7th Avenue, outside the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Miami Field Office, slowing traffic.
Concerns that President Trump may not renew TPS status for Haitians intensified after the Associated Press obtained emails from the USCIS inquiring about Haitians' criminal backgrounds.
Haitians' Protected Status expires on July 22nd. If it's not renewed, more than 50,000 people will have to move back to Haiti, including parents of children born in the US.
Karen Frederick, 31, attended the protest Saturday. She has legal residency in the US, but her brothers and parents have TPS. She says sending people back to Haiti would be economically devastating for a country still reeling from the 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew, and a recent Cholera epidemic.
"It’s not only it’s going to deport 55,000 people living here, but it’s a deportation for their family members living in Haiti as well. So it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be hard for us if they send them back home," said Frederick.
She's concerned about people in Haiti who would no longer have remittances from people in the US.
Representatives from The Haitian Lawyers Association, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, the state senate, and other groups addressed the crowd in English and Creole from the bed of a pick-up truck.
Many repeated Donald Trump's campaign promise to be Haiti's "greatest champion," and called on the president to stand by that promise.
The protest was organized by FANM, or Haitian women of Miami.