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Haitians Have 18 Months Before Protected Status Is Canceled


Across the United States, the news that nearly 60,000 Haitians will lose their temporary protected status is sinking in. That designation allowed Haitians to stay in the U.S. legally after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. About half of them live in Florida. This week, the Trump administration announced Haitians with TPS have an 18-month window to obtain legal status or return to Haiti before facing deportation. Reporter Nadege Green of member station WLRN talked with one Haitian family in Miami.

NADEGE GREEN, BYLINE: Lagranda Jeune is 7 years old.

LAGRANDA: I feel confused.

GREEN: She's confused because she was born in the U.S., but her mom was born in Haiti, and she has TPS, temporary protected status.

LAGRANDA: If you had a mother and just a daughter, and the mother got deported from the child, what would happen to the child?

GREEN: Her mom, Yolink Jeune, hasn't talked about that yet with her daughter.

YOLINK JEUNE: I don't even speak to the whole family yet to have something set up for us. But it's something that's coming. I don't really make any plans right now.

GREEN: Jeune says she's hoping that Congress can still help before she has to have that hard conversation with her 7-year-old. She and her daughter were in Washington, D.C., yesterday to talk to lawmakers about how ending TPS would devastate families. A bipartisan group of lawmakers from South Florida introduced a bill to create a path to permanent residency for all TPS holders from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson says she thinks this bill has a chance, despite President Donald Trump's anti-immigrant stance.

FREDERICA WILSON: He has a base that wants everybody deported. We have a base that disagrees. So we will energize our base, and we will win.

GREEN: During his presidential campaign, Trump made a stop in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood, telling Haitians he would champion their cause. Wilson says ending TPS shows that wasn't true. Seven-year-old Lagranda says she wants her mom to stay with her in the U.S. and...

LAGRANDA: For President Trump to go deep down in his heart to realize how bad people are feeling when they get deported from their children.

GREEN: In Florida, a little more than 30,000 Haitians are now figuring out what's next. For NPR News, I'm Nadege Green in Miami. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Nadege Green