Today, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman Cedric Richmond and CBC Member At-Large Yvette D. Clarke, along with Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., and CBC members Mia Love, Frederica Wilson, and Barbara Lee issued the following joint statement concerning reports that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is gathering evidence of crimes committed by Haitian beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status for use in potentially refusing to renew Haiti’s TPS designation:
“We are alarmed over media reports that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is seeking evidence of crimes committed by Haitians in advance of the July expiration of Haiti’s current Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation.
“This is part of an unfortunate continuation of then-Candidate Trump and now the Trump Administration’s efforts to promote a false stereotype of the criminality of immigrants as evidenced by the creation of the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE) at the Department of Homeland Security. The Administration has cast immigrants as drug dealers, sexual predators, and terrorists who are a drain on our society. However, the fact is that immigrants are actually less likely to commit crimes than non-immigrants and higher immigration rates are associated with lower crime rates. Moreover, immigrants of all backgrounds contribute to our economy. For example, Haitian TPS-enrollees contribute nearly $35 million each year for Social Security benefits they do not receive.
“In addition to being unprecedented, such actions are also wholly unnecessary. As former USCIS Ombudsman Maria Odom has stated, the federal government already investigates the criminal histories of TPS applicants and denies protections to those who have broken U.S. laws.”
“Highlighting criminal activity by TPS-beneficiaries obscures the basic fact that TPS designation is based on local conditions in the affected country. As our May 2nd letter makes clear, Haiti continues to suffer from the effects of a catastrophic earthquake, cholera epidemic, hurricane, and food insecurity crisis that provide ample grounds for extending TPS based on extraordinary and temporary conditions. Reports that USCIS is collecting crime statistics to justify the denial of TPS re-designation for Haiti defies both the letter and spirit of the law, while corroding the values of our nation of immigrants.”