(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman James Kennedy condemning President Donald J. Trump for his administration’s decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status designation for Haitian nationals was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.
Kennedy (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset) noted Haiti is continuing its efforts to recover from multiple natural disasters since 2010. New Jersey has approximately 3,400 Haitian nationals under a TPS designation who contribute to their families and communities in New Jersey, he said.
“It is in the moral, economic and foreign policy interests of the United States to allow Haitian TPS holders to remain so they can continue to provide for their families and communities in Haiti and here in the United States,” Kennedy said. “It’s cruel to terminate this designation, but it’s also poor fiscal policy.”
On Jan. 12, 2010, the Republic of Haiti was devastated by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake and was subsequently struck by aftershocks that measured as magnitude 5.9 and 5.5, respectively. It’s estimated that 300,000 people died as a result of the earthquake.
On Jan. 21, 2010, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security granted Temporary Protected Status to Haitian nationals due to the conditions in Haiti, and Haiti has since suffered additional loss of life and damage to essential infrastructure from Hurricanes Matthew and Irma in 2016 and 2017.
There are approximately 75,476 people of Haitian ancestry who reside in New Jersey.
“They make significant contributions to the cultural and economic diversity of the state, and have integrated Haitian TPS holders into their families and communities,” Kennedy said. “They are net contributors to the United States and New Jersey economies, and federal law prohibits TPS holders from receiving most forms of federal and state public assistance. As a world and regional leader, the United States has a moral obligation to do more to help rebuild families and communities that were destroyed by natural disasters.”
The bill was advanced by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee.