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Commissioner Audrey Edmonson Seeks Fee Waivers for Haitian Nationals

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On March 16, the Miami-Dade County Commission passed Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson’s resolution asking the federal government to assist Haitian nationals affected by January’s earthquake. The item urges President Obama to waive fees associated with filing for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) within the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced earlier this year that it would provide TPS to Haitian nationals who sought refuge in the U.S. as of January 12, 2010, the date of the earthquake.

“Haitian nationals who are seeking refuge in our country as a result of the earthquake have lost everything. Having them pay upwards of $470 per person to process their TPS applications is completely out of reach for most of them,” said Commissioner Edmonson. “I hope that the Obama Administration can assess the situation and allow Haitian nationals the opportunity to get back on their feet after such a devastating natural disaster.”

TPS designation would allow eligible Haitian nationals to live and work in the United States for the next 18 months in order to avoid endangering their safety by returning to Haiti and sending support to their families still on the island. DHS has predicted that more than 200,000 Haitian nationals will apply for TPS, which requires an application for refuge and employment authorization.

Commissioner Edmonson’s approved legislation will be transmitted to DHS and members of the Florida Congressional Delegation. In addition, the County’s federal lobbyists will advocate for the action, and the resolution will be included in the 2010 Federal Legislative package.

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