With permits expiring in 2019, workers face return to Haiti

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A hit to Florida’s workforce could soon be coming, and right where it hurts the most—at hospitals.

Time is running out for many Haitian community members whose work permits will soon expire. Many of them work as nurses or caregivers. They could soon be forced out of their jobs if the federal government fails to extend those permits through 2019.

One of those people waiting only has 10 days to provide that documentation. Reginald Castor is a nurse at Cape Coral Hospital and says there are others just like him who do important jobs and could be fired if the government doesn’t act now.

“I’m using the TPS (Temporary Protected Status) right now to work and drive. Without that I won’t be able to have a licence or work permit,” Castor said.

He’s also a Haitian living and working here under temporary protection—eight years after an earthquake destroyed much of his country.

“We come here to better ourselves, we go to school, we work hard,” Castor said.

In November, President Trump ended Castor’s and many other Haitian’s work permits, but said they’d be allowed to work until 2019. After that, they’d have to figure out a way to stay or be forced to return to Haiti.

“By January 22, if you don’t have a renewal of that TPS…for me I’ll get terminated from my job,” Castor said.

“These are people who contribute to the economy that hold blue collar jobs,” said Beatrice Jacquet, a Haitian activist. “If right now we’re in season and we’re complaining about the wait…it’s going to get worse.”

The Department of Homeland Security says, “The TPS Haiti Federal Register notice will provide details about the re-registration period—including the required forms, filing period, and information on the automatic extension of the applicable EADs—and will publish soon.”

They added, “It is our hope that the government will extend work authorization for our team members and other Haitians in our community. Until the government provides further guidance on the work re-authorization process, we must comply with federal laws.”

“All of those people on TPS right now are thinking about their families that they lost during the earthquake,” Jacquet said. “On top of that, they’re worried about if they’ll have a roof over their heads.”

For more information on Haiti TPS, click here.

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