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Envoy To Haitian TPS Holders: Leaving U.S. For Canada Not A Good Idea

Tim Padget
Haitian-born Canadian Parliament member Emmanuel Dubourg speaking with Haitian-Americans at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami on Thursday.

This summer thousands of Haitians living under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the U.S. have been attempting to move to Canada. But Canada is warning them that’s not a good idea – and Ottawa sent an envoy to Miami on Thursday to get that message across.

Canadian officials are alarmed that almost 10,000 Haitians have crossed or attempted to cross into their country, usually Quebec province, from the U.S. since June. Just about all those Haitians are TPS recipients.

The Trump Administration has said TPS for some 60,000 Haitians will probably be canceled in January. So, many believe it’s better to go to Canada rather than be deported back to Haiti.

The Canadian government sent Emmanuel Dubourg – a Haitian-born member of Parliament – to Miami’s Little Haiti - and he urged Haitians here not to enter Canada “irregularly,” as he put it.

“The risk is...we’re going to deport them," said Dubourg. "And if we deport them the door is completely closed for them or for their family for next time. So they have to be aware of our system and that there are ways that they can come regularly.”

Haitian-American leaders here echo Dubourg. And they warn TPS holders if they leave the U.S. for Canada now they also risk being unable to return here if the TPS issue gets resolved in their favor.

“These are people who are here legally," said Marleine Bastien, who heads Haitian Women of Miami, or FANM. "So leaving documented status to go to Canada, where you’re not sure what’s going to happen – we think for the TPS holders it’s not a good idea.”

TPS advocates insist Haiti is still too ravaged by natural and political disasters to take back so many Haitians living here. Florida Senator Bill Nelson says he will come to Little Haiti on Friday to call for TPS extension.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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