MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Trump administration’s decision to end a program that granted “temporary protected status” to nearly 60,000 Haitians has been met with outrage and anger.
And sobbing by some of the nearly 27,000 children born in the U.S. to parents who face deportation if TPS is terminated.
One of them, 7-year-old Lagrande Jeune spoke to President Donald Trump from a news conference in Little Haiti.
“My message to President Trump is for him to go deep down in his heart to realize how people will be feeling when they are deported from their children,” the little girl said.
Another child, Christine Ponthieux, also addressed the president.
“When you go to bed at night, think about the children, the families, the parents, who will be separated,” the girl said. “I love my dad. I love my parents,” the child said before breaking down, sobbing.
Menes Joseph is one of the tens of thousands of Haitians living in the U.S. under temporary protected status.
“We live here. We work here. We have family here. We have credit. We buy cars. It is not easy going back. Our life is here,” said Joseph.
It’s emotions that are being brought directly to the president as he is scheduled to spend Thanksgiving in Palm Beach County at his Mar-a-Lago Resort.
Trump is expected to be met by angry protestors including Joseph.
A coalition of labor groups and partner organizations are taking the fight to save TPS directly to his vacation.
Holding signs and chanting just outside the resort’s grounds, they want to remind the President that TPS holders have deep roots in their communities, are a backbone to the Floridian economy, and have built beautiful families which include American-born children that will be separated from their parents.
“We’re going to fight tooth and nail to get the president to do the right thing for these people,” said protester Rick Sanchez.
Temporary protected status was established in 2010 after Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake. The Department of Homeland Security said since then, conditions in Haiti have improved significantly and they will only give those with TPS one last extension, through July 2019, to prepare to return home.
Immigration advocates say now is not the time to take away the protection.
Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho was joined by School Board members and faith-based leaders Tuesday morning in their call for the continuation of TPS.
“Over my dead body will I allow anyone to come and take children from the sanctuary of our schools. They are the sanctuary of our community,” said Carvalho.
Florida lawmakers were quick to weigh in on the administration’s decision.
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Congressman Carlos Curbelo and other school board members are sending a message all the way to Washington.
“This announcement would just give us more fighting power because we are not going to take this standing down. We will continue to advocate. We have legislation in the hopper ready to file now,” said Wilson.
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen both tweeted out their opposition saying Haiti is not prepared to take back TPS recipients under these difficult and harsh conditions.
These individuals experienced severe loss and suffering as a result of the 2010 earthquake, and forcing them to leave the United States would be detrimental. Almost eight years later, #Haiti remains in total disarray and still requires much rebuilding. https://t.co/bHHlTrHjrn
— Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) November 21, 2017
I travelled to #Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 and after hurricane Matthew in 2016. So I can personally attest that #Haiti is not prepared to take back nearly 60,000 #TPS recipients under these difficult and harsh conditions.
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) November 21, 2017
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) November 20, 2017
Senator Bill Nelson issued a statement that read in part, “This decision by DHS is unconscionable. And I am strongly urging the administration to reconsider.”