Immigration Sentiments aren’t One Size Fits All, Haitian Leaders Say

By Seth Daniel

While many in the Everett immigrant community are upset about the rulings and upcoming rulings on the Temporary Protective Status (TPS), Haitian leaders a the Everett Haitian Community Center (EHCC) said they feel victorious in their situation.

Last week, the federal government announced that more than 59,000 Haitian immigrants nationwide with TPS status would have that status ended. The victory came in that the administration indicated it would not be rescinded officially until 18 months from now.

Rev. Myrlande DesRosiers of EHCC said this week that while they are not excited that folks will lose their status, they are thankful that the government has given them 18 months to prepare.

She said the Haitian government has indicated this week that they are ready to accept and absorb those residents back into Haiti. Almost all of them came to the U.S. after the 2010 Earthquake.

“For Haitians, we understood from the get-go that they planned to end the TPS program and we have been working for six months on this,” she said. “They had said they would end TPS in January 2018. We said no. We rallied around that and protested and asked for an 18-month extension to prepare. We didn’t ask for a repeal. We just said six months wasn’t enough time. For crying out loud they gave it to us. I’m not saying 18 months is enough, but when you ask for something with governors, mayors, city councillors and leaders standing next you and they give it to you, you have to be credible. We have to be credible now and say thank you.”

Haitian residents represent the largest group of TPS holders in Everett, with about 600 it is estimated.

DesRosiers said that while many in the Latino and other immigrant communities are ready to rally and campaign, the Haitian community supports them, but also has another focus.

The time for their campaign, she said, is over.

Now, they are busy preparing and serving those in the EHCC who need help.

She said they are training them with skills that could be useful if they go back to Haiti. Others, she said, are consulting with lawyers to find other ways to be able to stay here.

All in all, she said the point is that not every immigration situation is a one-size-fits-all situation.

“This was a temporary status in its nature and the earthquake was seven years ago,” she said. “This will be two more years, so that’s nine years…We can’t just be a resounding gong. We all have different styles, different needs and different views.”

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