Brooklyn Boro

Haitian Bar Association hosts clinics for those in danger of losing temporary protected status

July 13, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
HALANY President Ritha Pierre (left) and Rodney Pepe-Souvenir were just two of the many lawyers on hand during HALANY’s Temporary Protected Status renewal clinic held in Flatbush in June. Photo courtesy of HALANY

Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York (HALANY) have been hard at work this summer as they have held a pair of temporary protected status (TPS) renewal clinics in Flatbush this summer to help Haitian immigrants who are in danger of losing their status.

The first of these events was held at the YMCA in Flatbush last month and another was held this past weekend at the Bethesda Baptist Church, also in Flatbush. These events connect Haitians living in Brooklyn and the state with Creole-speaking attorneys who can help them to renew the immigration benefit.

TPS was initially granted to Haitians in 2010 following the earthquake that destroyed the island and killed more than 200,000 people. These creole speaking attorneys volunteered their time pro bono and assisted the applicants in a timely fashion.

“Haiti was designated for TPS under the Obama administration, however the Trump administration is expected to terminate TPS prematurely in January 2018, which is 12 months less than the normal term for the benefit,” said Emmanuel Depas, past president of HALANY. “Termination will leave 60,000 TPS beneficiaries without a lawful status. No status means losing the ability to work lawfully in the U.S. and ultimately be compelled to return to Haiti through removal proceedings or voluntarily.”

According to Depas, Haitian TPS beneficiaries have been here for at least seven years, have assimilated and developed roots in the U.S., have paid taxes and have children who are U.S. citizens, according to Depas.

“Termination of TPS means the destruction families right before our eyes,” Depas warned. “Parents will be separated from children, siblings will be separated. A crisis is impending. At a very minimum a housing crisis will surely ensue without the ability to work. Our president’s convictions have made lives of immigrants uncomfortable to say the least.”

HALANY has held events like this in the past, and is open to doing so in the future, but Depas explained that with only about 20 Haitians showing up at each event that the group may decide that their energy is best directed in another way.

People are encouraged to reach out to the group should they need assistance with TPS renewals.

 

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