Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly’s brief visit to Haiti today:
“Today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly spent four hours in Haiti. Despite calls from more than two dozen humanitarian organizations for Secretary Kelly to visit resettlement sites and areas impacted directly by the earthquake, Hurricane Matthew, and the cholera epidemic, reports indicate that he will spend the entirety of his brief trip in the National Palace. This comes across as a cynical attempt to justify the uncertainty he has created about the fate of the Haitian people whom he has threatened with a decision to offer a six-month extension of Temporary Protected Status.
“I sincerely doubt that such a cursory trip will provide Secretary Kelly with the type of substantive knowledge required to comprehend the magnitude of conditions on the ground or properly inform his decision making on what is truly in the best interest of this nation and her nationals that are currently provided a full measure of Temporary Protected Status, beyond the six months he has ordered.
“Temporary Protected Status has literally been a lifeline for the people of Haiti who continue to suffer from a much compromised infrastructure, are unable to provide adequate food for their people and healthcare services needed to abate a raging cholera epidemic. I believe that a more comprehensive and substantive assessment of conditions on the ground would be the most humane approach to determining how his decision to lift protection from the close to 50,000 nationals who are such a significant lifeline for those in Haiti who continue to live in such distress would be truly impacted by his decision.
“I invite Secretary Kelly to travel with me and other members of Congress to spend several days in Haiti touring resettlement locations and learning from Haitian advocates about why this extension is so vital.”