• Central Florida workers relieved as work authorization extended for Haitian refugees

    By: WFTV.com

    Updated:
    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -

    Haitians living in the U.S. under the temporary protection status will get to keep working in the country -- for now.

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    The status, which was granted to Haitians who immigrated to the U.S. after the devastating 2010 earthquake, was extended to July 2019, but the employment authorization documents were not.

    The work authorizations were set to expire this week, but starting Thursday, workers will be able to re-register their paperwork, officials with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said.

    Officials will automatically extend the validity of the documents for Haitians with TPS for 180 days, through July 21.

    Wilna Destin had no idea what would have happened to her and her husband if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hadn't announced the extension. 

    "Yeah, it's really a relief for us," Destin said. "Everything is good for now. For now, but yeah."

    The extension was good news for immigrants, but also for companies like Rosen Hotels and Resorts, which rely on the Haitian refugees who make up a large part of the workforce.

    The company operates numerous hotels in Orlando, and without the Haitian workers, president Harris Rosen said that they wouldn't be able to operate.

    "A third of our associates are from Haiti, and without them, we could cease to exist," Rosen said. "We need them so desperately."

    About 50,000 Haitian refugees live in the United States, and if their temporary protected status isn't extended again in July 2019, all will have to leave at some point.

    Rosen didn't understand why the Trump administration would cause so many people to be forced from the country, and vowed to push back.

    "They're working," Rosen said. "We love them. Why disrupt their lives?

    "We are fighting, fighting to make sure that TPE is going to be extended."

    Disney union leaders reiterated Rosen's stance, saying they will be fighting for the hundreds of Haitian refugees currently working for the company.

    "If we don't fight, then 2019 is going to be the same thing, the same worry," Destin said. "So that's why we have to fight and to make it permanent."

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