OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - Members of South Florida’s Haitian community took to the streets of Oakland Park, Sunday afternoon, in support of Haitian nationals’ ability to remain in the Unites States legally.
Standing outside the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Building, located at 4451 N.W. 31st Ave., protesters urged the Department of Homeland Security to extend temporary protected status for thousands of Haitians who fled their country after the deadly 2010 earthquake.
Mae Smith with the St. George Civic Association worries that families will be separated if the Trump administration does not renew the immigration designation that allows thousands of Haitians living in the U.S. to remain in the country.
“The one thing that compels me to come out here more than anything is the threat of children being separated from their parents. This is something everyone should have a problem with,” said Smith.
Guithele Ruiz-Nicoles with the Haitian American Democratic Club of Broward echoed Smith’s concerns. “These people are human. They contribute to the economy here, they have homes, they have children in school who were born here,” she said. “By deporting the parents, we have a group of children who will have no parents.”
TPS was granted by the Obama administration in the wake of the earthquake, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the Caribbean country. It allows Haitians to live and work freely in the U.S.
Supporters said the Haitian community is vital to South Florida because of their contributions to the economy and the area’s diverse culture.
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