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Haitians Launch Renewed Campaign to Stay in the U.S. as Six-Month TPS Extension Officially Begins

Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of FANM, called for business leaders and government representatives to advocate on behalf of TPS recipients.
Holly Pretsky
Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of FANM, called for business leaders and government representatives to advocate on behalf of TPS recipients.

The six-month extension of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians began over the weekend, and ends in January of 2018. 

Haitian activists gathered at the headquarters of Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami (FANM), or Haitian Women of Miami, Monday morning to call for another renewal of TPS and to announce a new strategy: meet the president where he is.

Read more: TPS Announcement Raises Concerns Among Haitian Community Activists in South Florida

"We are identifying people who are close to Trump to make the case for TPS families," said Marleine Bastien, executive director of FANM. She said the organization plans to identify 100 business leaders to help make the economic case to the president for allowing Haitians to stay in the U.S.

The Trump administration renewed TPS status for Haitians in May, but for a shorter period than previously: just six months, instead of the previous administrations' typical 18 months. There are more than 50,000 Haitians protected by TPS in the U.S. Many of their children are citizens.

"We know that there is a lot of fear and anxiety in our community," said FANM executive director Marleine Bastien. "You should be concerned, but do not panic."

She stood surrounded by campers who attend FANM's summer program, some of whom are the children of TPS recipients. Bastien urged Haitians to reapply for TPS before the end of the day, despite fears and rumors that doing so could further jeopardize their chances of staying in the U.S.  

Activists from Nicaragua and Honduras, countries also protected by TPS, also spoke at the press conference, emphasizing solidarity across all effected communities. 

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Holly Pretsky is a Colorado native who loves riding her bike around, eating tuna sandwiches, asking questions, and climbing mountains.She discovered radio storytelling when she won second place in an informal audio essay competition her sophomore year of college. The prize: a t-shirt from the local radio station. Since then, she's graduated from Colorado College and continued reporting in Colorado Springs and now Miami. One of her favorite things is learning about people who dedicate themselves to things she didn't know existed, and being reminded how much passion there is in the world.
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