by Jared Mcallister (NY Daily News)
The Trump administration’s plans to finally terminate Temporary Protected Status designation for Haiti rocked advocates, organizations— and the close to 60,000 men women and children who face deportation and separation in the wake of the move.
But words from 10-year-old Ronyde Christina Ponthieux of Florida have invigorated opponents of the move and given encouragement to the young and old who would be affected.
Protests in New York and other cities began after last Monday’s announcement. But news of an eloquent, personal video appeal from young Ponthieux— aimed directly at President Trump— was echoed around the world and encouraged opponents of the move. The young girl’s father works as a nurse in a Florida hospital and wound be deported when the program ends.
“We are not criminals. Like my parents, like your parents, like you, they are hardworking honest people who just want a safe place to raise their families,” the seasoned young activist said in her video to Trump. “They have deep roots in their communities; they pay taxes; they contribute to the social, economic and political fabric of this great nation.”
The protected status allowed Haitians to live work in the U.S. following the 2010 earthquake, one of several natural disasters that have kept the nation unprepared to accept the Haitians here — who sent millions of dollars to aid relatives and friends in the Caribbean nation. The benefit has been extended one last time— until July 2019 — “to give Haitians time to prepare to return home,” say federal officials.
Opponents of the decision, including Democrats and Republicans in Congress, are vowing to seek legislative solutions for the Haitians. Younger Haitians, born here as American citizens, may be separated from their parents if it is enacted.