ORLANDO, Fla. - Thousands of Haitians are living in Central Florida under a Temporary Protected Status, and many are afraid they could be forced to return to Haiti if the Department of Homeland Security doesn't renew their status and allow them to stay.
More than 100 people marched through the streets of Pine Hills Thursday night to bring attention to their situation.
They beat drums and chanted as they paraded down Pine Hills Road across Colonial Drive.
— Ken Tyndall (@KenTyndallWFTV) October 27, 2017
Raynald Justance moved to Orlando from Haiti with his wife seven years ago, had children and built a new life in Central Florida.
"I work (at) Disney World. I take care of my kids, my wife. I already bought a house. But I can't go to Haiti," said Justance.
His three children were all born here and are U.S. citizens.
Temporary Protected Status does not grant a path to permanent residence or citizenship, but does prevent deportation.
Haiti is one of several countries covered under Temporary Protected Status, but that status will expire in January if the Trump administration doesn't extend it.
"It is unfair, especially if they're working here, they're paying taxes, you know, and if they don't do any crime,” said demonstrator Rodna Milor.
Hundreds of Haitians under Temporary Protected Status work at Disney, and members of the union marched in support.
- Disney workers ask company to fight for 500 Haitian refugees working in Orlando
- Haitians in the United States urge renewal of special status
- US digs for evidence of Haiti immigrant crime
Jimps Joseph moved to Central Florida after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, when he lost all he had.
Now, he has a job and owns a home, but he's afraid of what could happen.
"If he (Trump) does not extend TPS, I might lose everything," Joseph said.
The Haitian Consulate in Orlando estimates there are thousands of Haitians living in Central Florida under Temporary Protected Status, and there are more than 50,000 living in the U.S.
The Trump administration has said it was never intended to be a way for people to stay in the country indefinitely, however, applying for citizenship can take years.
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