To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Maica and I emigrated from Haiti after the deadly earthquake in 2010. There, I was buried under a building for six days and was presumed dead. My eleven-year-old little brother and my aunt died right next to me, and both decomposed on top of me during the six days that I was there.
When they finally unearthed me, although my little brother had died, I managed to survive. After battling an infection that could not be treated, I had to have both of my legs amputated. Luckily I was flown to New York where I was hospitalized for months and had many surgeries. Here, I was helped by many strangers who became my family over the years. I was blessed enough to receive a scholarship to a lovely prestigious high school. I was able to graduate and go to college. I was then cared for by Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees (HWHR), an organization that responds to the needs of Haitian refugees and immigrants, for which I have since volunteered, and I am currently a member of the TPS committee. After graduating from high school, I attended nursing school where I first obtained my Associate’s in Nursing and then my Bachelor’s. I was able to obtain my license as a registered nurse during my studies. I have worked in long-term care, as an ambulatory nurse and per-diem school nurse.
I currently live with my mother who used to be a nurse in Haiti but now works as a home attendant. Her work has allowed her to pay rent, other utilities, and her taxes. Every 3 years or so, my prosthetics legs have to be changed, which is something I will not be able to obtain if I return to Haiti. We entered the country with a special visa called Humanitarian Parole because of my injuries, but we got qualified for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) when President Obama designated Haiti following the earthquake. We have had this immigration status for the past ten years and it has allowed us to work, pay taxes, and obtain medical coverage. On November 20, 2017, the Trump administration terminated TPS for the people of Haiti. Our current status will expire in January 2021, which means that my mother and I will be forced to go back to Haiti. We left Haiti under terrible conditions including abuse. My father, who remains there, is an aggressive man who has threatened and abused my family for years. He has told us that if we ever go back, he would have us both killed. The government has decided to send us back but the country is not yet equipped to receive all of us especially with the current COVID-19 crisis. Going back would mean going to a place of uncertainty, violence, abuse, and injustice. The U.S. is now what I call home. I have been working so hard against really difficult odds to make a life for myself, it seems like it might still end in tragedy. A lot of us, TPS holders have lost so much in our countries but we were able to build a life for ourselves here and contribute to our community. TPS is not a status that allows one to apply for permanent residency so we have not been able to seek any other way to stay in the U.S. permanently. Living with the uncertainty of temporary immigration status has proven to be a daily life of anxious anticipation. This year has exacerbated that uncertainty for us. I do believe that if enough people believe in us, a way to call this country “home” is possible. Please join our fight for a permanent solution and see it in your heart to help us find a way to become good, contributing citizens of this country.
Together we are fighting for a permanent solution for all TPS holders. Join us as we stand in solidarity with all undocumented immigrants in the struggle for permanent residency. If you are a TPS holder or know anyone with TPS who would like to join us in our self-advocacy efforts, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue to take our stories and experiences to Washington D.C. to self-advocate for our communities until we find a permanent solution.
Thank you for standing with us in the fight for racial justice & immigrants rights!