BOSTON, Massachusetts — Boston’s archbishop is decrying the Trump administration’s decision to end temporary protected status, or TPS, for tens of thousands of immigrants who fled hardship in Haiti.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley says the government’s decision this week to end the special designation effective July 2019 runs counter to “the spirit of gratitude and generosity embodied in Thanksgiving.
“Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon the blessings our nation and ourselves and families have received from a generous God, and to renew our commitment, personally and nationally, to share these blessings with all who live in this land,” he said.
“TPS is an act of compassion and care designed to assist those whose visas have expired in the United States, and for whom return to their native land is either dangerous or threatening to their lives and welfare. TPS is the kind of political generosity which for decades has earned the United States a positive reputation throughout the international community,” the cardinal continued.
O’Malley is urging Washington to reconsider sending an estimated 59,000 Haitians back to their impoverished homeland and maintain a posture of “compassion and care” toward those whose visas have expired.
“The decision made this week to end TPS status for Haitians is unnecessary and unwise. More to the point, it is neither required nor is it morally right,” he said.
The temporary residency program has allowed Haitians to live and work in the U.S. since 2010, when a powerful earthquake struck Haiti.
O’Malley issued a statement late Wednesday warning of “great pain and suffering” for families eventually deported.
“These dire consequences will not end with deportation: Returning to Haiti at this time means going back to a country still struggling to recover from the effects of a massive earthquake, the outbreak of cholera and the recent impact of Hurricane Matthew,” he said.
The cardinal also said Church officials in Haiti have said it is unrealistic to propose that 50,000 people be received and resettled into the devastation and poverty in the country.
Crux staff contributed to this report.