Three days after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano granted temporary protected status to Haitian refugees in the United States.
Refugee Council USA, a coalition of organizations including Human Rights First, Amnesty International USA and International Rescue Committee, had called on President Obama to grant temporary protected status for refugees. Care2 and other groups ran petitions in support of TPS for Haitian refugees. And Congress finally joined the call, too.
Granting Haitian refugees in the U.S. temporary protected status will not only protect them from being deported at a time when their country simply cannot take them in. It also allows these refugees to work legally in the U.S. while they are here – thus allowing them to earn money to send back home to family and loved ones in desperate need to help.
Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the ranking Republican senator on the foreign relations committe, supported the move, stating: “It is in the foreign policy interest of the United States and a humanitarian imperative of the highest order to have all people of Haitian descent in a position to contribute towards the recovery of this island nation.”
U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 1st Class Mariana O'Leary:
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - U.S. Army Lt. Col. Hector Paz of U.S. Military Assistance Advocacy Group, U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, D.R., carries an injured girl to receive medical treament after being evacuated from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, by a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft crew stationed in Clearwater, Fla., Jan. 14, 2010. Hundreds of U.S. personnel have been evacuated from Haiti in the aftermath of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that stuck outside Port-au-Prince on January 12.