Haitian community advocates in Miami say they're pursuing congressional action to extend "temporary" immigration protections granted to Haitians after a 2010 earthquake.
The "temporary protected status" allowing roughly 50,000 Haitians to legally live and work here typically was renewed every 18 months. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security most recently extended those protections only for six months, through January 2018.
Marleine Bastien of Haitian Women of Miami said Monday that Homeland Security has sent letters to Haitians in the program urging them to prepare to return to their Caribbean homeland.
"Today is the final day for all TPS recipients to re-register," said Bastien. She also said those affected should be concerned, but should not panic.
Bastien said Haitian immigrants should consult attorneys on other options to stay in the U.S. legally. Bastien said advocates also are asking U.S. lawmakers to propose legislation to make the temporary protections permanent for long-time recipients from Haiti and Central America.