Letters to the Editor

We ask Sen. Rubio to stand with Haitians, Central Americans in fight for TPS

In November, an articulate and sharp 10-year old girl burst into tears wondering how many more holiday seasons she had left with her parents. Ronyde Christina Ponthieux, born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, had just found out the Trump administration canceled the program allowing them to lawfully and productively work in the United States, threatening them with deportation to Haiti.

Without eloquence, and in a vulgar tirade, President Trump literally added insult to Christina’s emotional wound, when last week he referred to Haiti and the African nations as “shithole countries.” CNN also reported that Trump said to, “Send them all back.” In doing so, Trump revealed his true motivation for canceling TPS for Haitians and Central Americans: prejudice.

Therefore the most viable solution moving forward is strong legislation that protects Christina’s family. We ask for the support from our congressional delegation. Based on the few public details of the bipartisan agreement that six senators (three Democrats and three Republicans) presented to Trump, we know there is a legislative solution for 300,000 TPS holders, including those from Haiti and El Salvador. But we need the full and unconditional support of every single one of our legislators in Florida.

Conspicuously absent is Sen. Marco Rubio. We respectfully ask him to help advance the bipartisan agreement. His voice would give legislation a much-needed shot in the arm. Aside from helping prevent a local tragedy for tens of thousands of children, he would also contribute to the region’s stability. Rubio has made a name for himself in the foreign policy arena, and this issue spans both his home state and his regional area of expertise.

Rubio needs to decide if he stands with constituents like Christina — or with a resident whose policy is driven by vulgarity and racism.

Marleine Bastien,

executive director,

Haitian Women of Miami, Miami