Give Haiti a Chance to Rebuild

April 30, 2009

The Bishops of the Episcopal Church wrote to President Obama on March 26 asking him to grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians. Now we are asking you to write the President as well.

Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere, has suffered catastrophic consequences after two major tropical storms and two hurricanes slammed the country last year; causing 700 deaths, leaving 800,000 in need of emergency assistance and 60-80% of the country’s crops destroyed. As Episcopalians, we have a special relationship with Haiti, which is the largest diocese in The Episcopal Church. The church there serves between 100,000 and 150,000 people in 168 congregations. We know well the suffering of the people of Haiti.

Presently, more than 30,000 Haitian immigrants are facing deportation. Their President has explained that deporting thousands of Haitians back to Haiti under its current circumstances would only further exacerbate the current humanitarian crisis and increase the stress on Haiti's already fragile economy.

Granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians in the United States would provide them with the ability to legally work and contribute to the reconstruction of their country until it is safe to return. Congress established TPS to grant safety to those foreign nationals who cannot safely return to their home country due to ongoing armed conflict or because of an environmental disaster. The destruction caused by natural disasters has made the safe return of Haitian nationals to their country dangerous. TPS would allow Haitians currently in the U.S. to stay temporarily, as a response to the natural disasters and political strife that have recently plagued the country.

Send a letter to President Obama asking him to issue Temporary Protected Status to Haitian nationals that will temporarily halt their deportations and allow the Haitian government the time it needs to invest its limited resources in rebuilding the country and offering emergency relief to its suffering citizens following four deadly storms last September.