A number of University employees could potentially be affected by designation for Haitian immigrants, announced by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke on Nov. 20. Come July 2019, these employees could be a few of the nearly 60,000 Haitians who would presumably lose their ability to legally live and work in the United States under TPS.
A University employee in Frist Campus Center said that many of her friends, cousins, and fellow church members would be affected.
“They’re feeling very discouraged,” she said. “They don’t want to come back because someone pushed them. They want to come back when they’re ready to go back.”
She expressed uncertainty over the future, but was hopeful that people would rally against the removal of Haitian immigrants. “If they put their voice together, something will be done,” she said. The ‘Prince’ granted anonymity to several University employees due to the subject’s sensitive nature. Campus Dining administration told the ‘Prince’ in an email not to talk to its employees.
In interviews with several Campus Dining employees who would be affected or had loved ones who would be affected by the termination of TPS, the employees expressed worry over their jobs and how to support their family.
Countries are given a TPS designation if certain circumstances, such as a natural disaster or civil war, make returning to the country too dangerous. Congress gave Haiti the designation after an earthquake ravaged the country in January 2010. Under the program, Haitians who entered the United States up to a year after the disaster without authorization or who overstayed their visas could apply for temporary protection from removal and the ability to legally work and travel. TPS designation does not provide a pathway to legal permanent residence.
The stated reason for the termination is the significant progress in the “stability and quality of life” for Haitian citizens, according to a . It cited a 97 percent decrease in the number of displaced people in Haiti.
Yet many Haitian immigrants remain worried about their future. The removal of TPS will force affected Haitians to either leave the country by July 22, 2019 or apply for another legal status.
One Campus Dining employee mentioned that while he would not be affected by the policy change, he knew up to 10 of his colleagues who worked in the same dining hall with him would be. He expressed sympathy for his colleagues who work every day worrying about their immigration status.
He expressed desire for the government to either renew the TPS status or, ideally, grant legal residency for immigrants simply “trying to find a new life.”
Daniel Day, Assistant Vice President for Communications, wrote in an email to the ‘Prince’ that the University has “a relatively small number of employees who presumably would be affected by the end of the Temporary Protected Status program for Haitians. We are examining and monitoring the situation closely and will do our best to help our employees as appropriately as we can.”