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Southwest Florida Haitians fear deportation

Posted at 7:17 PM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 10:32:35-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- Many Haitians in Southwest Florida could be on the brink of deportation come July 2019. President Donald Trump pulled the Temporary Protection Status for Haitian Immigrants that was made after Haiti's 2010 earthquake.

“If I had to pack my kids back home or I had to live not knowing what’s going to happen, it would cause a lot of anxiety," said Beatrice Jacquet, head of the Haitian-American Democratic Club in Lee County.

Jacquet explained that "a little over 10,000" Haitians will be leaving Southwest Florida in 18 months, effecting a number of families and local businesses.

"It’s not enough [time] for us that are here locally to go ahead and find people to fill positions that are now emptied by people that was here.”

The Department of Homeland Security released this statement:

"In 2017 alone, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services conducted extensive outreach to the Haitian communities throughout the country. These include but are not limited to community forums on TPS, panel discussions with Haitian community organizers, stakeholder teleconferences, regular meetings with TPS beneficiaries, new releases to the Haitian community, meetings with Haitian government officials, meetings at local churches, and listening sessions.

Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displace people in Haiti has decreased by 97 percent. Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitian citizens, and Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens. Haiti has also demonstrated a commitment to adequately prepare for when the country's TPS designation is terminated."

But Jacquet disagrees. She says that going back to Haiti will do more harm than good and that the President needs to focus on how to keep people here.

“What needs to happen next, is that, number one, the people that are already here let’s take care of them...And to continue being this country that is so great, that everyone wants to come to.”