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New Safeguards Help Haitian Families in Massachusetts Still Reeling After Earthquake

Press Release

Location: Boston, MA

Senator Urged Obama Administration to Grant "Temporary Protected Status," Issued Today

Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, today applauded the Obama Administration for extending protections to Haitians who fled their earthquake-ravaged country in the wake of last year's deadly natural disaster.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced that victims of the Haitian earthquake will be eligible to apply for "Temporary Protected Status," a short-term immigration status that allows immigrants who cannot safely return to their countries to remain in the United States. DHS first provided the temporary status to earthquake victims on January 21, 2010. Today's extension will allow those who receive the temporary designation to remain in the country through January 22, 2013.

"The people of Haiti faced a desperate situation following the earthquake and it particularly affected Haitian families living in Massachusetts," said Sen. Kerry. "Today's announcement is just the right thing to do for Haitian nationals peacefully living and working in the United States. They should not be forced to return to a ravaged homeland where their basic human needs cannot be met."

On January 13, 2010, the day following the earthquake, Kerry, along with Senator Paul Kirk (D-Mass.), sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitian nationals living in the U.S.

In January 2011, Kerry again wrote the President asking for an extension of the temporary protected status, which was issued today.

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