On November 7, the Maplewood Township Committee passed a resolution calling for the extension of Temporary Protection Status for Haitian immigrants.
However, just before the TC’s meeting on November 21, the Trump Administration announced that it was ending the protections.
As The New York Times reported, the Administration announced on November 20 that it would end the humanitarian program “that has allowed approximately 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States” since the devastating earthquake of 2010. “Haitians with what is known as Temporary Protected Status will be expected to leave the United States by July 2019 or face deportation,” reported the Times.
The Maplewood resolution, titled “Resolution in Support of Extending Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status,” notes that 1.9% of South Orange and Maplewood’s population was born in Haiti and that “there are Haitian residents of Maplewood who are TPS holders and have deep ties to Maplewood … raising families, starting business, buying home and making other valuable contributions to our community.”
The resolution notes that Haiti has not yet recovered from the quake and that local residents would return to a country where 40,000 earthquake victims still remain in displaced persons camps with 200,000 more in a settlement camp — and that the country was also recently devastated by Hurricane Matthew.
At the Nov. 21 meeting, SOMA Action member Lillian Hawkins commended the TC on the resolution in support of TPS and noted that she was at a SOMA Action event in Newark when news broke about the Trump Administration rescinding the protections “and the room broke out in tears.”
Mayor Vic DeLuca noted that Maplewood leaders “will be in contact” with U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez as well as Congressman Donald Payne Jr.
Deputy Mayor Nancy Adams urged, “Everyone, contact your legislators directly.”
In an email to Village Green, Township Committeeman Frank McGehee called the Trump Administration’s action “unacceptable” and told Village Green that he will have more information on outreach to Maplewood residents of Haitian origin shortly. McGehee himself has Haitian roots and his wife Marie was born in Haiti. McGehee is a member of the U.S. board of the Fondation Enfant Jesus.