Michiana Haitians say they cannot go back to the home they once knew
SOUTH BEND, Ind.- 60,000 Haitians are being asked to return home to their native country. The Trump Administration said on Monday they are putting an end to a program that allowed families, impacted by the 2010 earthquake, to stay in the United States.
Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Kate Waldman explained that temporary protected status was designated to Haiti back in January 2010 after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
Fast forward seven years, DHS and the Trump Administration say it’s time for them to go back, but one Haitian tells ABC57, making Haiti safe is not the full accurate picture.
Off camera, Samuel Miot Manley, who hasn't been to his country since 2001, says going back would be an adjustment.
It would require re-education, re-adaptation. Manley says he's part of the American culture and even forgot how to speak French and Creole. He adds, since the earthquake, he doesn't even recognize his home.
And immigration advocate, Sam Centellas agrees by saying Haiti isn’t safe.
“There was just more hurricanes that passed through the Caribbean and destroyed more parts of that island an, there are clearly still issues there,” says Centellas.
Centellas says people in Michiana have been affected by the withdrawal of temporary protected status, or TPS.
“As long as they’re positively contributing to our communities they should be allowed to stay,” he says.
Waldman in a statement says TSP doesn’t lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status.
But Centellas says there’s a contradiction when allowing this type of status and then revoking it. “People say you should come here the right way. And these are people who have filed all the right paper work, done all the right things, followed the rule and now they’re told they have to leave. It’s completely unfair.”
Waldman says Haiti has made progress since the earthquake. The economy continues to grow. 97 percent of people displaced have left displacement camps. 98 percent of those camps have actually closed.
Centellas adds, regardless, communities like Elkhart County need these tsp individuals to stay.
“We’re currently in a job crisis, where we have more jobs than people in this country,” says Centellas. “So having people leave doesn’t make sense. Look at Elkhart County, there’s over 10,000 available and open jobs there.”
La Casa doesn’t file paperwork for TPS, but there is a National Immigrant Justice Center in Goshen.