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Loss of TPS status for Haitians could hurt economy

Posted at 12:46 AM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 06:55:09-05

From hospitals to restaurants, Haitian-Americans make up a big part of Southwest Florida's economy.

"Lee Health is impacted greatly, almost their entire nursing staff, a lot of the CNA's are Haitian,” said Beatrice Jacquet, President of the Lee County Haitian-American club.

Jacquet says she gets dozens of calls a day from people worried they will be deported, unless congress and President Trump solve the issue.

The president announced the end of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian-Americans effective in June 2019.

Many of the people under protected status arrived in the United States after a devastating earthquake in 2010.

"These are folks that are established here, working here, many have businesses here,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R - District 25)

Diaz-Balart is working with the president and pushing congress to prevent an estimated 10,000 Haitians in Southwest Florida from being uprooted and sent back to Haiti.

“You’re talking about sending people back to countries where frankly their economy is in shambles, continues to be in shambles,” said Diaz-Balart.

He says TPS is part of a larger problem with the immigration system the president wants to fix.

But Jacquet says ending temporary status for thousands of people without considering each person individually is causing a ripple effect in the Haitian-American community.

“Because a lot of them that are on TPS have American kids, theyr'e going to school and they're impacted because they don't know if their parents will be deported or not."

Diaz-Balart says it may take congress several months to sort out the TPS issue.