Noting that there are more than 500 Haitians working at Walt Disney World, several Disney labor unions Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to extend the temporary protected status of Haitian refugees, as well as for Honduran and Salvadoran refugees.
UNITE HERE Locals 737 and 362 and Teamsters Local 385 added their voices to that already provided by Walt Disney World in urging Trump to reconsider his anticipated move to not renew the TPS for Haitians. Similar TPS decrees are set to expire later this year for refugees of Honduras and El Salvador.
Reading a letter to Trump, Local 362 President Eric Clinton described the recent devastation of Haiti by Hurricane Matthew, adding to the already precarious economic and public health crises of that Caribbean nation.
“In its aftermath, Haiti’s overwhelming challenges got worse. A growing cholera epidemic, a lack of accessible housing, safe water, food and medical care,” Clinton read. “There are nearly a million Haitians living in the Untied States, with the largest population in Florida. Over 50,000 Haitians hold special status in our country’s immigration system, known as temporary protected status, or TPS. The current designation for Haitian TPS expires July 22, 2017.”
“Haitians with TPS are hard-working people who live and work in this country, have children born and raised here and own homes in our communities. They are a crucial part of Central Florida’s economy and community,” continued Local 737 President Jeremy Cruz-Haicken. “At Walt Disney World, nearly 500 Haitians work under TPS. These Disney cast members clean rooms, cook and serve food and keep the parks clean. They are the face of Florida’s multi-billion tourist economy. They deserve the chance to renew work permits to sustain their families in the United States as well as remit funds to their families in need back in Haiti.”
Cruz-Haicken called the prospect that they will be deported to Haiti “cruel.”