Temporary Protected Status allowed thousands of Haitians to live in the U.S. for almost ten years. It will no longer exist after July 22, 2019, leaving Haitian New Yorkers with a tough decision: to stay or to go?
She waited for fourteen hours to be rescued from under the rubble of her home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after the earthquake. She waited eight months after that for her school to reopen, before moving to New York to continue her education. She waited for nine months after that to be told that yes, she was eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and so yes, she could stay.
And now, Stéphanie Etienne* is waiting again, waiting and hoping, she says, because if something doesn’t change, on July 22, 2019 she will lose her right to live and work in the United States For the 5,400 Haitians living in New York City under TPS, the government’s decision to end the program has been anything but decisive. Instead, it marks another episode of confusion and uncertainty. And waiting.
With roots in two countries, Haitians like Etienne are left to weigh their investment in a life in the U.S. against the shadowy threat of deportation, and to try to decide what to do next. They will go or they will stay, and meanwhile they wait.