Fighting Injustice and Advancing Rights in the Haitian Immigrant Community

In the fall of 2017, the Global Justice Clinic began contributing to efforts to promote justice and support community empowerment in the Haitian immigrant community in New York.

The Clinic’s first activity was to publish a report that provides a statutory argument for the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti.  As of  November 2017, there are more than 50,000 Haitian people who have TPS, and more than 300,000 people in the United States with TPS in total.  TPS immigration status provides protection from deportation or removal, and enables the beneficiary to apply for a work permit.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designates countries for TPS if they face armed conflict, have suffered a natural disaster, or face other extraordinary yet temporary conditions that make them unable to safely repatriate their nationals living in the United States.  The DHS designated Haiti for TPS after the 2010 earthquake.  It has since extended TPS for Haiti four times.  However, in May of 2017 President Trump said that he planned to terminate the program.

The Global Justice Clinic report, Extraordinary Conditions:  A Statutory Analysis of Haiti’s Qualification for TPS, shows that homelessness and displacement, cholera, and hunger continue to plague Haiti, and that the nation has struggled to recover from the earthquake.  The incomplete recovery is due in large part to the introduction of cholera into Haiti only 10 months after the earthquake in October 2010, and to Hurricane Matthew, the strongest storm to hit Haiti in 52 years, which struck in October 2016.  The report concludes that DHS should extend TPS for Haiti for the maximum 18 month period.   The Clinic is participating in ongoing advocacy efforts leading up to the late November deadline when the DHS must decide whether to terminate or extend TPS for Haiti.

 

The Clinic has partnered with attorneys at The Door, a youth empowerment organization that provides legal, health, and education services to New York City young people.  In addition to supporting immigration cases for youth clients, Global Justice Clinic students, Project Director Ellie Happel, and attorney and Clinic alumnus Gabrielle Apollon are working with Brooklyn-based organizations to conduct legal empowerment trainings in Haitian churches and community centers.