For Immediate Release – Press Release
January 15, 2010
For more information, contact:
Catherine Salgado, 312.332.7360 x 235
Alie Kabba, 630.415.4534
Jose Luis Gutierrez, 773.851.84 82
Harry Fouche, 630-631-1875
Haiti Crisis Aftermath Reinforces Black-Brown Unity
Immigrant Groups Join in Solidarity, Urge President Obama to give
Temporary Protected Status to Haitians
Chicago, Illinois – Latino, African American, Asian and Caribbean leaders gathered today to show support for the nation of Haiti. The earthquake that struck Haiti last Tuesday killed thousands and left the country in disarray. Already the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti was already reeling from the four hurricanes that struck the country in September 2008 when the earthquake hit.
Participants called upon President Barack Obama to provide Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian immigrants. “We affirm our collective support for the people of Haiti in this hour of need, and stand united in our call for comprehensive humanitarian relief and Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in the US,” said Alie Kabba, Executive Director of United African Organization and Vice President of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
TPS would put a temporary hold on deportations of qualifying Haitian nationals present in the US, who would therefore not be sent back to devastated communities that could not support them. “We call on President Obama to immediately grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to all nationals of Haiti currently residing in the U.S. Angela Sanbrano, President of National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC). “The powerful earthquake that hit Haiti, given the context of impoverishment and misery that affect the majority of Haitians, will translate into extreme hardship, even death, for millions of Haitian families for years to come.”
US immigration laws authorize the Department of Homeland Security to grant TPS to citizens of countries that are affected by war, social unrest, or natural disaster. TPS has been granted to El Salvador, Guatemala, Kuwait, Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, Bosnia, and other countries. However, even after the 2008 hurricanes, the federal government has not extended TPS to Haitians. “This is one of the most effective ways to support the people of Haiti in this time of national tragedy,” said Oscar Chacon, Executive Director of National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC). “As a Salvadoran I believe that Haiti is just as deserving for TPS as El Salvador, both countries affected for uncontrollable conditions that endanger the lives of their citizens.”
Immigrants granted TPS would also be able to work in the US. These immigrants would therefore not only support themselves and contribute to our economy, but would also be able to earn money that they could send to their loved ones and home communities. “The remittances that Haitians with TPS would send to Haiti will be a key resource for rebuilding Haiti after this disaster,” said Harry Fouche, Chairman of the Consortium for Haitian Empowerment.
Asians and Arabs joined the call to the President to provide TPS for the Haitians. They also called upon their communities to help with the efforts to rebuild Haiti after this tragedy.
“The American Muslim community stands with other Americans in a collective commitment to support the Haitian people during their time of crisis with money, supplies, and prayers,” said Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago)