Just before bedtime on Monday night, Reginald Lysias sat his 6-year-old daughter down and told her something he knew would break her heart.
“I told her we have to go to Haiti,” Lysias recalled. “She asked me, ‘Why?’ I told her that President Donald Trump doesn’t want us to stay in the U.S.”
The girl cried all night. Lysias, a 40-year-old pastor at a Baptist church in Northern California, is one of as many as 60,000 Haitians living and working in the U.S. on a temporary residency program created after a catastrophic earthquake rocked the Caribbean nation in 2010. The Trump administration has announced that it plans to end “temporary protected status,” or TPS, for those Haitians on July 22, 2019.
That means Lysias and his wife, Yolly, have just under two years to figure out what comes next. He is struggling to understand why his adopted country would turn him away. I didn’t sleep at all last night. I kept asking myself why this was happening,” he said on Tuesday. “What will I do with my home, my car, the church that I lead?”
Lysias came to the U.S. to preach. He arrived in December 2009, spending several weeks speaking to churches across the Bay Area.
He was all set to return to his native country the following month, but disaster struck.
A magnitude-7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti in January 2010, killing tens of thousands of people and destroying countless homes and businesses. Lysias lost everything — including a school that he owned and where he had been principal.
“My life was gone. All of it,” Lysias recalled.
But he and his wife soon found refuge. President Barack Obama, just days after the quake, granted 18-month protection status for Haitians living in America who otherwise might be forced to return to their shattered country. Obama renewed TPS every time it ran out.
“We had permission to stay and build a life,” Lysias said. “We got a home, we paid our taxes.”
Reginald and Yolly Lysias settled in Novato, a city in the affluent Marin County area of Northern California. He became a pastor at a small Baptist church, home to about 100 congregants. She became a nurse at Kentfield Hospital, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. And together they raised four children. Three of their kids were born in America; the youngest is two.
So my problem is this. Sigh
He didn’t teach his kids Creole or French? Why not? Why would he refuse to teach them that beautiful language? You can still be Haitian and live in America. You don’t have to relinquish your culture in order to appear more “American”. I can’t respect his decision to take away the privilege of speaking Kreyol.
Many Haitians as well as other foreigners come here and they try so hard to blend. They try to become like Americans. They go into debt trying to keep up.
Nobody told this man to come here and get his wife pregnant 3 times! Lol You came here poor and your answer was to be fruitful and multiply. Well multiply your ass right on up out of here. Take your ass back to Haiti.
I’m being harsh on this guy because he’s playing the victim and playing into the stigma that’s placed on Haiti in general. Everybody thinks Haiti is disgustingly poor and has no potential for growth. But that’s a lie. Haiti is gorgeous and The land is definitely able to sustain the people. The Capital Port Au Prince is in a horrible condition. Not the entire country. Media outlets show that ONE CITY and we all run with that. Its like media outlets only showing Detroit and making it seem as if the entire US nation is deplorable. We have our good parts and bad, so does Haiti.
This guy is A pastor in the states. Which to me means, he’s lazy as fuck and wants to read a book and get paid for it.
What I’d do? Send him back and make him work. His wife is a nurse and THAT’S something we can use in this country. We don’t need another PASTOR! He’s not paying taxes. His wife Yolly is. She’s actually helping. The people of Haiti don’t need Jesus. They need Money, Buildings, and crops. They need skills on how to work the land. How to build solid structures. They need FREE EDUCATION for all children. They need transportation for the kids to go back and forth to school.
They were given a TEMPORARY PROTECTION. Not permanent. They were never told they’d be able to stay forever. If they wish to stay permanently, FOLLOW THE STEPS to become a US CITIZEN. Pay your way, not fuck your way. Don’t come here having babies on US soil and start acting all entitled. Let his children stay. If that’s what the law permits. But he needs to give back to the community. He claims he was a principal before the destruction hit. Blah blah blah. Get to work buddy. Look at this guy in the YouTube videos of Haiti making moves and getting shit done. There are many people working hard to get things or keep things in order. I’m guessing GOD told him to come to the US because the word needed to be spread here and not to focus so much over helping his fellow Haitian brother and sister. He needs to stop using those kids to stay here. Do I blame him? No. At the same time, don’t bash Haiti to suit your argument.
Haiti isn’t the only country given TPS STATUS.
But folks can’t seem to talk about anybody but Haiti.
What is TPS
The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.
The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:
- Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
- An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions
During a designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS upon initial review of their cases (prima facie eligible):
- Are not removable from the United States
- Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)
- May be granted travel authorization
Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States.
TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. However, registration for TPS does not prevent you from:
- Applying for nonimmigrant status
- Filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition
- Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible
PLEASE NOTE: To be granted any other immigration benefit you must still meet all the eligibility requirements for that particular benefit. An application for TPS does not affect an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit and vice versa. Denial of an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit does not affect your ability to register for TPS, although the grounds of denial of that application may also lead to denial of TPS.
So it was TEMPORARY. It sucks? Not really. A country opened its doors to you in an effort to help you. Once your country is better, you should be able to return home. If you can’t return home, APPLY for citizenship.
Reginald wonders what will happen to the 100 people who follow him. They’ll join another church. There’s millions here to choose from. What will happen to his car? Leave your worldly possessions behind for your wife. Leave your home to your wife and kids. Go make an honest living and be a man for once. Reginald is just pissed that he’ll have to go back to questionable utilities. You don’t get lights 24/7 He’s gonna miss out on all that porn he’s been watching.
The rest? Make it a case by case basis. If they have SERVICE JOBS, let them stay. If they are takers like Reginald, Kick em out. If he was a TEACHER, Teaching US kids French and Creole, I’d say leave that man alone. Be he ain’t doing shit but taking tithes and offerings and love gifts.
Honestly I can relate to the frustration of building a new life in the United States in 8 years and then being expected to start over again. That’s not fair. But it’s been 8 years and therefore how many extensions are we going to continuously give them? I think we either have to make a way for them to become US citizens while they are on our soil or we have to make a way for them to return home. The fact is, many will qualify for green cards. And others won’t. And if they made good of their time in the US, like working and saving and taking advantage of programs that we offer, if they are forced to return, maybe they’ll have money and a useful skill to apply at home. It’s tough.
If it were me, I’d protest my black ass off. I’d hit the pavement and beg to stay. I’d prove my value to the people.
But if that didn’t work, just roll with the punches and go with the flow.