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Haitian Lawmaker: Six Month Extension For Immigrants Isn't Enough

May 24, 2017
Originally published on May 23, 2017 4:08 pm

A Florida lawmaker is criticizing the federal government’s temporary extension of special status for Haitian immigrants. After the 2010 earthquake, the federal government allowed thousands of Haitians to take refuge in the U.S. This week President Donald Trump extended those protections again, but by six months, not the eighteen months advocates hoped for.

Some 58,000 Haitians benefit from the program, and many settled in South Florida. Democrat Daphne Campbell represents Miami’s Little Haiti community in the Florida Senate. She says deportation could devastate temporary residents and their families.

“What am I gonna do if I have a home and paying a mortgage! What am I gonna do if I have kids who are going to college! Or high school! Or elementary or middle school! What am I going to do?” Campbell asked.

Campbell says Haiti is still rebuilding from the earthquake, Hurricane Matthew and a cholera outbreak, and isn't prepared to receive tens of thousands of deportees.

“So what are they going to do in Haiti? What about if they don’t have no family members anymore? No family members, nowhere to go, no place to live, no job! What they gonna do?" Campbell asked. "What are they going to do?”

On the current timeline, residents could be deported back to the island country as soon as January 2018.

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