Pressure has been mounting as Haitians living in the U.S. awaited a decision by the Trump Administration to extend the Temporary Protected Status program. But they learned on Monday that the program has been extended for six months, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, confirmed.
The Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue a formal notice on the matter later in the day.
The program, which grants work permits and legal residency, was in limbo unless it was renewed by the Trump administration.
The future of some 50,000 Haitians depended on the decision, as the program was set to expire on July 22.
A crowd of people showed their Haitian pride earlier this month outside the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Miami field office in northwest Miami-Dade.
Across from the federal building at 8801 NW 7 Ave., the crowd chanted: "Donald Trump! TPS now!"
The decision to extend the program was in the hands of John F. Kelly, Trump's secretary of Homeland Security. Earlier this year, he requested an analysis of the criminal history of Haitians living in the U.S.
Former President Barack Obama allowed the TPS to protect Haitians in the U.S. after the 2010 earthquake. Immigration authorities have extended the program three times since.
"If I go to Haiti, many schools, many properties have been destroyed," Marleine Bastien told Local 10 News.
Bastien's father is a nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He has been in the U.S. for 18 years and has two U.S.-born children in school.
"I hope they help my parents and they keep me here," Bastien said before hearing that the TPS program had been extended.
The TPS extension for Haitians is one of the rare issues that Florida lawmakers across party lines have urged the president and Department of Homeland Security to act upon, for humanitarian reasons and economic reasons, in a state where immigrants are a critical part of the workforce.