The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced in November that the Temporary Protected Status designation of nearly 50,000 Haitians living in the U.S. would expire in 18 months. TPS was extended to Haitians following a devastating earthquake in 2010 that killed hundreds of thousands of people. An estimated 10,000 Haitians with TPS are living in Southwest Florida. In September, the Trump administration announced an end to the Obama-era DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) which has protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation who were brought to the U.S. as children.
These policy decisions have led to concern and uncertainty for hundreds of thousands within the country’s immigrant communities, many of whom have found work in the healthcare industry. In response, Lee Health held its first-ever forum last weekend for local TPS and DACA recipients to hear from attorneys and immigration experts.
We’ll explore how an end to DACA and the looming expiration of TPS designation for Haitians could impact employers like Lee Health as well as possible legal options for immigrants who could face deportation. We’ll hear from Lee Health’s director for diversity and patient-care civil rights, Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates, Fort Myers Immigration Attorney Indera MeMine, and Jean Phillipe, a medical translator with Lee Health who came to Fort Myers as a teenager following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.