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After the Earthquake: Students and Alumni Assist Haitian Nationals

(Boston, Revised 04/16/10) New England Law | Boston: The New England Law | Boston community helped Haitian nationals with immigration issues following January’s devastating earthquake through participation in clinics in the Boston area and assistance in Florida over March break.

Haitians were helped regionally through the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, which was been extended by the Department of Homeland Security to Haitian nationals who were present in the U.S. at the time of the earthquake.  TPS is a form of temporary humanitarian immigration relief given to nationals of countries that have suffered severe disasters, natural or man-made.  

Once a nation has been designated TPS-eligible, its nationals who are in the U.S. can apply for work authorization, cannot be deported or put into immigration detention, and can apply for travel authorization, which allows them to visit their home country and return to America (even if they do not otherwise have a visa that would allow them back into the country).  The work authorization that accompanies TPS allows Haitian nationals in the U.S. to work and send money back home to family members in Haiti

New England Law students and alumni assisted the Haitian community in Boston with the filing of TPS paperwork with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).  The law school’s Immigration Law Project helped connect New England Law’s volunteers with a range of local organizations, including the Immigration Law Association, Catholic Charities, Greater Boston Legal Services, and the Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston at Boston Medical Center.

Volunteers included Elizabeth Alfred ’12, Jonathan Antle ’11, Olga Chervatyuk ’11, Ross Denison ’09, Laura Donohue ’12, Abbagail Geroux ’12, Allison Grosz ’12, Kristen Hacket ’12, Nigel Henry ’12, Laura Mannion ’09, Nicole Oribhabor ’11, Astrid Paniagua ’12, Zoe Paolantonio ’09, Naya Pessoa ’11, Jessica Pettit ’11, Adonia Simpson ’09, Liz Stapleton ’11, and Sapna Tailor ’09.

Several New England Law | Boston students are also assisted in a multi-university effort in Florida that was coordinated through immigration law professors around the country and via the efforts of Erin Richards '11, president of the Immigration Law Association.  As an alternative to spring break at the beach, students helped to complete intakes and applications for qualifying Haitians in the Miami area.  For more information, please click here.

The efforts of New England Law students and those of other institutions were described in a March 3, 2010, USA Today article.

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