Haiti Post-Quake: USCIS Announces Deferred Action Eligibility for Haiti Post-Quake Survivors

Miami-Florida Having left their homeland in ruins, and their collapsed homes still laid in the ruble, Haiti Quake Survivors who sought safe haven in the United States, for months, have been waiting for a life line from the Obama Administration.
By: Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition (HAGC)
 
June 4, 2010 - PRLog -- Thousands of Haiti Quake Survivors who settled in the United States with tourist visa and are now experiencing serious financial distresses got a much needed relief from the Obama Administration.  Haitian-American advocates, nationwide, have alerted for months federal authorities the predicament of the most vulnerable group among the quake survivors.  This category has no protection at all unlike those who have been approved for TPS or Humanitarian Parole.  Due to their immigration status, those survivors are not eligible to receive any social services from government agencies or community-based organizations.  

In a national teleconference call held this Wednesday with Haitian-American Leaders and Immigration Law Practitioners throughout the country, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Director,  Alejandro Mayorkas, announces that Haiti Quake Survivors with B1 or B2 Visa can either apply for an extension of their visa or better yet apply for a Deferred Action at their nearest USCIS Office.  Jean-Robert Lafortune, Chairman of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition (HAGC), a Haitian advocacy group based in Miami, raised concerns whether or not that the USCIS had already published a protocol or guidance concerning this new measure relative to the Haiti Quake survivors; the USCIS Director outlined that this announcement has not been published yet but thios information  will be uploaded soon to the USCIS.gov web portal.  This is good news and desperately needed relief for those survivors, said Lafortune.

The teleconference call was convened by USCIS in order to share the latest update with Haitian community leaders as the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Haitian nationals expires on July 22, 2010.  Haitian Advocates and activist Attorney Steve Forester from the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) urged Director Mayorkas to consider the extension of TPS in order to afford to a certain number of Haitian Nationals who are eligible for the TPS measure the opportunity to apply for it.  Attorney JoNell Newman, University of Miami, praised the USCIS Director for working collaboratively with the university in order to allow the prompt and effective processing of the TPS applications and the fee waivers for the Haitian Clients.  At the end of the meeting, Director Mayorkas indicated that he heard loud and clear that among the Haitian advocates there is strong consensus for an extension of the TPS Program due to the hurdles that Haitians must face to submit proper documentation to apply for the program.  At the beginning of the meeting, the Director pointed out that during the announcement of the TPS Program in Miami this past January 2010, the USCIS made a mistake when it provided an estimate that the DEpartment was ready to accept and process from 100,000 to 200,000 TPS applications for Haitian Nationals.  At this juncture, USCIS has received a total of 52,000 TPS applications and has mailed back some 42,000 work authorization permits.  Legal Practitioners and community activists commended Mayorkas and his team for improving the approval rate of the fee waivers and the speedy review of the TPS applications.  USCIS Officials outlined that they were in agreement with the idea of issuing the TPS extension and the Haitian-American community leaders proposed sound strategy to USCIS concerning improving its outreach method in all the Haitian communities.

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The Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition is a leading Human Rights and Civil Rights Group advocating for the rights of Haitian Nationals seeking safe haven in countries such as the United States and the Caribbean. It pursues fair and equal treatment.
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