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AAA Calls on Administration to Extend TPS for Haitians
The lady standing in New York Harbor looks distressed and embarrassed. Her torch is raised high—a worldwide welcome. Today, however, its light is dim, making the inscription on Liberty’s base hard to read. On Monday, nearly 60,000 Haitians learned they are not welcome. The Trump administration announced it will not renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that has allowed Haitians to remain in the United States for more than seven years. They have 18 months to get their things together and leave the country.
The decision is based on the Department of Homeland Security determination that the “extraordinary conditions” that prompted their entry into the United States following the 2010 earthquake “no longer exist.” Acting homeland security secretary Elaine Duke stated, “Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitian citizens.” Those who have documented the health epidemics and effects of multiple deadly natural disasters, including Hurricane Andrew in 2016, which have devastated Haiti in recent years truly don’t believe that. The country ranks 163rd out of 188 on the UN's Human Development Index – the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Haiti is simply unable to absorb a large number of returnees at this time.
The expulsion of 60,000 Haitians is discriminatory and violates the fundamental principles upheld by anthropologists, anthropology and the American Anthropological Association. This decision serves no useful purpose, is inhumane, and increases the prospect for potentially dangerous consequences. We call on the administration to rescind this order and extend TPS until such time that Haiti is fully equipped to address the health and security challenges it faces.
Meanwhile, several bills have been introduced that provide a permanent solution for TPS holders across this country, including the Secure Act by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD). The Secure Act, the product of a large effort by several unions and organizations, would provide residency status for all current TPS holders, including Nicaraguans and Sudanese who will be losing TPS protections in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
It is time our lady in the harbor stands tall and shows the world what America really stands for as well.
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Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association, with 10,000 members, is the world’s largest scholarly and professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and applying this understanding to the world’s most pressing problems.