USCCB News Release
March 19, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cardinal calls protection for Haiti just and compassionate
Says political tumult, natural disasters and poverty qualify country
More than 300,000 Haitian children affected
WASHINGTON—In a letter dated March 19, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), urged President Obama to designate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of 18 months. A designation of TPS permits nationals of a designated country to reside in the United States legally and qualify for work authorization because of civil conflict or natural disaster in their home country. Eighteen months is the longest period under law that a country can be designated for TPS, although such a designation may be renewed.
In the letter, Cardinal George cited four hurricanes and tropical storms which hit Haiti in 2008 as justification for the TPS designation, stating that these natural disasters have led to food shortages and political unrest.
"Haiti meets the standard for TPS because it has experienced political tumult, four natural disasters, and severe food shortages in the last year," Cardinal George wrote. "Tens of thousands have been displaced, and the fate of thousands more is unknown. More than 300,000 children have been affected."
Cardinal George added that TPS would permit Haitian nationals to work and send remittances back to Haiti, which is beset by severe poverty.
"Mr. President, by any measure, the conditions in Haiti meet the statutory requirements for a designation of TPS," Cardinal George concluded.
"Extending this mantle of protection to struggling Haiti is a just, compassionate, and concrete step the United States can take toward alleviating the human suffering of the Haitian people."
For a copy of Cardinal George's letter to President Obama, go to http://www.usccb.org/mrs/2009bshpstatements.shtml.