By Christelle Glaudin ’19
Haiti, a small island in the Caribbean, was struck by an earthquake in 2010, as well as several epidemics and a series of hurricanes in 2017. These natural disasters, combined with the corruption found within the Haitian government, have left Hati and its citizens in a deep struggle. Due to its desperate needs, the United States offered Haitians the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. In November, the Trump administration decided to end the TPS program for Haitians.
According to the New York Times, the TPS program allowed nearly 59,000 Haitians to live, work and go to school in the United States legally. Many of these individuals have established jobs, families, friendships and homes in the U.S. These men, women, and children now have an uncertain future.
Rosangela Duplessy ’18, who is of Haitian- Brazilian descent stated, “He’s sending back hardworking Haitians who paid taxes and did nothing wrong. It is not fair”
The Trump administration has failed to realize that the Haitian government lacks the resources to welcome its returning citizen.
Marlie Adrien ’20 stated, “As a Haitian-American I know
from my parents and relatives that it is pretty horrid back there.”
Ms. Gina Seide, who is currently living in Haiti, explained that the country is facing several economic, social and political problems. Although the earthquake ravaged the country eight years ago, Haiti has barely recovered. It is still poor country.
From my last visit in Haiti earlier in December 2017, I’ve witnessed how this beautiful country has been disfigured by the poverty that it is experiencing. Many individuals are still living underneath tents and lack several of the basic necessities like clean water, electricity and food.
I recall my family members eagerly waiting for the electricity to come on in hopes of being able to store food in the fridge, charge their phones and watch television.
Haiti lacks a proper road system in various areas of the country. From my experience, many of roads are rocky and are bombarded with potholes formed by rainwater.
Ms. Seide stated that when it rains, the roads are habitually flooded due to the lack of a proper canalization. This issue makes it difficult for one to get access to homes, schools and hospitals.
Another major problem facing the country is unemployment. According to Global Security, 60 percent of Haiti’s population is unemployed.
Kenol Anglade, who visited Haiti in December 2017 said, “In any neighborhood in Haiti it is easy to notice unemployment. Young people with strength and energy, they wake up every day, they play cards and dominos. The fortunate ones who go to university, even after graduating as lawyers, doctors and engineers, they cannot find a decent job.”
The TPS program gave many Haitians an opportunity to seek a better life themselves and help the family members they left back home.
Ms. Seide disclosed that the Haitians who were able to travel are now supporting their families who are living back home. TPS recipients have people who depend on them for food, housing, clothing, and helping pay for schools.
According to ChristianPost.com, the return of TPS recipients will have a devastating effect on both Haiti and its returning citizens. Many returning Haitians will have to learn to readapt to the country. For example, many individuals, especially children, will have to learn to learn how to speak Creole and French. Furthermore, for the adults, finding a job will be an obstacle due to the high unemployment rate. Ms. Seide explained the return of TPS recipients will cause division amongst families. This will have a negative psychological impact on the children. The Haitian community has been truly devastated by this situation.
Ms. Marie-Ange Seide Anglade, a naturalized Haitian stated, “I have friends and family that are covered by the TPS program. I feel saddened and upset.”
Many individuals, including myself, are hoping the Trump Administration comes to their senses and realize this decision will only bring catastrophe. We hope they will regain a sense of humanity and reverse their decision.