SWFL Haitians React to TPS Extension

Mar 1, 2019

Temporary Protected Status has once again been extended for four groups in the U.S. – El Salvadorans, Hondurans, Sudanese and Haitians. 

Of the estimated 50,000 Haitians in the U.S. here under TPS, more than 32,000 call Florida home. That’s about two-thirds of the population, and that’s why related organizations can be found across the state.

Beatrice Jacquet-Castor is the president of the Haitian-American Community Coalition of Southwest Florida.

“What we do is advocate on behalf of the Haitian community to bring resources within that community,” Jacquet-Castor said.

Jacquet-Castor is not a TPS recipient herself, but many who are part of the coalition, or who benefit from its work, are. The mood following the news of the extension is mixed.

“There’s a lot that have sold their home already, and now, they’re like, ‘Hey, you know, I could’ve stayed for another 6 months,'" she said. "The thing is, right now, the people, the recipients and their families, really don’t know what the future holds for them.”

The coalition has been seeing an increase in anxiety among the American-born children of those on TPS, in particular – worsened, Jacquet-Castor said, by the widespread media coverage of migrant families being separated at the southern border.

“You do have a lot of children that are having nightmares of their parents being deported, and that has added a lot of stress," she said. "It impacts students’ grades and their social interaction with others because  they don’t know if their parents are going to be deported. And, they would have to be with their parents.”

Data from the Center for American Progress estimates the number of children born to Haitian TPS recipients to be nearly 2,000 in Southwest Florida. Across the entire state, there are an estimated 18,800 American-born children now living in limbo.

WGCU has created a series of interactive graphics, looking at the demographics of Haitian TPS recipents in the U.S., Florida and Collier and Lee Counties. Click on each highlighted word for a breakdown by gender and workpoverty or insured status.