WASHINGTON, D.C.– Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), First Vice Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), CPC Peace and Security Taskforce Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) made the following statement as news surfaced that the Trump administration is investigating criminal histories of Haitians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS):
“The Temporary Protected Status Program is a humanitarian program meant to protect individuals from returning to unsafe conditions in their home country. The Trump administration’s request that the Department of Homeland Security pursue inquiries into the criminal records of Haitian immigrants before deciding whether to continue humanitarian protections for tens of thousands of people threatens the livelihood of many Haitians. This marks an unprecedented and disturbing new development in President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.”
“Haiti is still in crisis as it tries to rebuild from natural disasters, confronts a new hurricane season in less than a month, and copes with an ongoing cholera epidemic. Haitians with Temporary Protected Status are hardworking people who pay taxes, have families, contribute to our economy, and support their loved ones in Haiti. Deporting them would provoke further instability and migration from Haiti, and deprive Haitians of critical income. Haitians already in the U.S. face a strict screening process that includes criminal background checks in order to gain and maintain TPS; they must not be unfairly criminalized.
“As the deadline for Haiti’s extension in the TPS program approaches, we urge Secretary Kelly to consider the undeniable hazards and insecurity that Haiti continues to face. Requesting criminal data for people based on their country of origin has no basis in the laws governing TPS. DHS’s search for such information threatens not just Haitians, but also larger TPS communities from Honduras and El Salvador. We firmly reject this as a means to pursue the deportation of our most vulnerable community members.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.