Media CenterCRS Opposes Administration's Decision to Terminate Protective Status for Haitians

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Kim Pozniak
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]


BALTIMORE, MD, November 21, 2017 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) strongly opposes terminating the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti. The 50,000 Haitians now forced to return to a country still recovering from the catastrophic 2010 earthquake--as well as hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Maria--face serious repercussions.

 “With ongoing political and socioeconomic challenges, Haiti does not have the adequate resources or capacity to manage the safe return of 50,000 nationals,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ vice president for government relations and advocacy. “These people will suffer and the sudden deluge of 50,000 people returning to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere will undermine the whole country’s efforts to recover and rebuild.”

TPS provides legal status for foreign nationals to live and work in the United States when they are unable to return home due to natural disaster, conflict, or other extraordinary conditions. The U.S. granted TPS to 50,000 Haitians after the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 230,000 people and displaced 2 million.

In a recent letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), CRS, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration (USCCB/COM), Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) highlighted that “while progress is being made, recovery is far from complete, and the ‘extraordinary and temporary conditions’ that warranted Haiti’s TPS designation remain.”

 “Haitians working in the U.S. under TPS provide critical remittances to their families back home to help them cope and rebuild as the country continues to recover from natural disasters. Continuing to welcome them here is the right thing to do,” said O’Keefe. “And while CRS strongly disagrees with DHS’ determination, we will continue to work with Congress and the administration to find a permanent legislative solution for long-term TPS holders.”  

DHS announced yesterday that Haitians with TPS will need to leave the U.S. before July 2019 or face deportation. In an announcement earlier this month, DHS terminated TPS for 2,500 Nicaraguans and extended TPS by 6 months for 57,000 Hondurans. The administration will determine whether to extend or terminate TPS for 195,000 Salvadorans by January 8.

CRS has worked in Haiti since 1954, providing emergency response and recovery; improving food security and agricultural practices; reducing child labor and empowering youth; and promoting education and strengthening the health care system.  Under the leadership of Pope Francis, CRS joins the Catholic community in the Save the Journey campaign on behalf of migrants and refugees, including from Haiti. 


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Kim Pozniak

Director of Communications

Kim Pozniak
November 21, 2017

Based in Baltimore, MD

As the Director of Communications, Kim oversees the communications and social media teams working with journalists and the media to connect them with engaging stories about relief and development programs that are making a tangible difference in people’s lives around the world.

Her previous work at CRS includes handling emergency...More