SDIRC Statement on Extension of TPS for Haitian Earthquake Survivors

SAN DIEGO, CA —  In a cruel and inhumane decision, the Department of Homeland Security announced today that it will extend by six months the Temporary Protected Status (TPS)  granted to Haitians who survived the 2010 Haitian earthquake. During this extension, they are expected to prepare to be deported to a country still devastated by natural disasters.

There are an estimated 58,000 Haitians with TPS living in the United States, including about 100 in San Diego. These earthquake survivors have lived, worked, and gone to school in the United States while their country is being rebuilt. However, they are now one step closer to being deported to a country ill-prepared to receive them.

Pastor Jean Elise Durandisse, with the Christ United Methodist Church and a member of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, released the following statement:

“We are heartbroken by the decision to extend this program for only six months, as opposed to the 18-24 months we have been requesting. Families are in fear because of this uncertain future. We need to continue to show compassion to the victims of natural disasters, and treat them the same way we would like to be treated if we were in their place. TPS is part of our commitment as a nation to support them in their time of need. There are many Americans that stepped up to support these survivors by opening their doors and their hearts, and living by the biblical verse ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.’ We will continue to pray that God will touch their hearts so that TPS can be extended further and our families can remain together.”

Laura Moreno, Chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, released the following statement:

“San Diego is a thriving and diverse city thanks in part to the contributions of immigrants and refugees who call this place home. We must wear our tried-and-true American values on our sleeves by continuing to support these natural disaster survivors, and we can do that by extending TPS for 18 to 24 months. On September 16, 2016, then-candidate Trump went to “Little Haiti” in Miami, Florida and told Haitians that “Haiti is still suffering very badly” and pledged to be their “greatest champion.” This is an opportunity for President Trump to fulfill his campaign promise by extending a program that has given earthquake survivors the dignity of work and safety while conditions in their country improve. Haiti is still in no condition to receive an estimated 58,000 people.”

About San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium

The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is a project of Alliance San Diego. Since 2007, community, faith, labor, and legal organizations have come together as the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC). Through SDIRC, these organizations are pursuing four common goals: support comprehensive immigration reform; stop the spread of local policies and practices that target and violate the civil and human rights of immigrants; educate immigrants; and educate the public about the important contributions of immigrants. More at:



Ramla Sahid, a refugee on a mission, works to bring refugees into San Diego’s mainstream

By Peter Rowe

Six Syrian men quizzed the Somali owner of Eleet Transportation, a two-year-old San Diego firm that delivers patients to medical appointments.

What are his costs? What regulations govern his business? Is it wise to hire family members?

“I have a younger brother,” said Eleet’s owner, Abdikarim Hussein, in English. “I’ve fired him maybe six, seven times.”

After this comment was translated into Arabic, it was greeted by a chorus of male guffaws. Only one woman was at this testosterone-heavy gathering, yet she may have been the most important person in the room.

Read full the story here.

Even before Trump, asylum seeker already caught up in clogged system

By Kate Morrisey

As President Donald Trump sets out to ramp up immigration enforcement, the system already is overwhelmed — not just with the “criminals” Trump has said he will target, but also with people not accused of any crime, many seeking asylum in the U.S. using their rights under international law.

One such asylum seeker, currently detained at the Imperial Regional Detention Facility in Calexico, is Mohamed Hassan, a Somali native who fled, saying a terrorist group tortured him and wanted to kill him because he made a career out of singing and dancing to Western music like Michael Jackson, Eminem and Shakira.

Read the full story here.

‘This Is My Home But My Voice Doesn’t Matter’


In San Diego, they’re all around us.

Refugees who’ve become legal residents. Immigrants who were brought here illegally as children. People who’ve served time in prison and are out on parole. Regular old high school students.

They all share something that unites them: They can’t vote.

We spoke to several San Diegans who cannot legally vote in Tuesday’s election about how they grapple with paying taxes and investing in their community without having a say in how their city and country are run.

Read the full story here.


Thank Your Elected Official for Choosing to Lead a Welcoming City


Elected Official Name & Title

Street Address

City, State Zipcode

Dear ______________,

I am writing to thank you for working to make your city and our border region a place that is welcoming to all residents, regardless of where they come from or how they got here.

San Diego County and the entire border region has long benefitted from a rich and diverse population, and it’s embedded in the very fabric of our culture.  Immigrants and refugees make up roughly a quarter of San Diego County’s population and over 37% of households speak a language other than English at home.  If we were to include the children and family members of those individuals, the percentage of immigrant and refugee families is actually much higher.  Immigrants and refugees grow businesses, strengthen the economy, create jobs, and serve as leaders in churches, organizations, schools and other community venues.

By declaring your city a Welcoming City, it sent a strong message that the contributions of immigrant and refugee communities are important and that all residents, regardless of where they come from, are valued and welcome.  Unfortunately, over the last year, we have heard an increase in hateful rhetoric across the country, seen a number of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee legislation at the federal level, and witnessed an increase in hate crimes and hate speech locally.  Such words and actions have the potential to create fear and division in our community, and it takes tremendous courage and vision to stand up against it, and declare your city a Welcoming City.  I want to recognize and thank you for your commitment to ensuring that all residents feel welcome.  

Thank you for your bold leadership and steadfastness in championing the rights of our communities.  


In Wake of Hurricane Matthew, U.S. Must Renew Humanitarian Aid to Haitians at Our Borders

‘Improved conditions’ in Haiti were cited as a reason to begin detention and deportations of Haitians seeking humanitarian aid
SAN DIEGO, CA –  The U.S. should immediately reinstate humanitarian aid (including humanitarian parole) to Haitians arriving at our borders, given the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew, the first major hurricane to hit Haiti in 50 years.
Hurricane Matthew pummeled Haiti with powerful winds, heavy rains and rising floods, further crippling the Caribbean nation, which is still recovering from the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and an ongoing cholera epidemic. This new devastation to the poorest nation in our Hemisphere is further evidence that Haiti is in no condition to receive deportees.
The U.S. Government cited “improved conditions” in the island as a reason to detain and deport Haitian earthquake survivors arriving at the border starting September 22. This new policy was announced despite the State Department issuing numerous warnings for people traveling to Haiti, citing the lack of emergency medical services and run-away crime rates.
Ginger Jacobs, Chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, stated the following:
“We urge the U.S. Government to reinstate humanitarian aid and parole to Haitians at our border. The U.S. Government’s decision to detain and deport people back to this destitute land is inhumane, and it also breaks a promise made by the U.S. not to forsake or forget the Haitian people after the devastating earthquake of 2010. Haiti has limited resources, limited employment opportunities and, if deported, these people have a limited chance of prospering in such desperate conditions.”
About San Diego Immigrants Rights Consortium
The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium is a project of Alliance San Diego. Beginning in 2007, community, faith, labor, and legal organizations have come together as the Immigrant Rights Consortium. Through the Consortium, these organizations are pursuing four common goals: Support comprehensive immigration reform; stop the spread of local policies and practices that target and violate the civil and human rights of immigrants; educate immigrants about their rights and the legal and other resources available to them and to educate the public about the important contributions of immigrants and counter the myths and misstatements made about immigrants. To learn more about SDIRC, visit