The Florida A&M University College of Law Legal Clinic and Pro-Bono program is currently accepting Temporary Protected Status applications for Haitians living in Florida.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano has determined an 18-month designation of TPS for Haitians is warranted after the Jan. 12, 2010 devastating earthquake.
As a result, TPS will allow Haitians who are in the U.S. and unable to return home to stay in the U.S. and legally work until a safe return is possible.
“In this time of extreme catastrophe, it is important that we consider the Haitian countrymen who reside in America by providing them with a Temporary Protective Status,” said Senator Gary Siplin of the 19th District.
According to Clinic Director and Assistant Professor Ann Marie Cavazos, all TPS applicants must provide proof of Haitian Nationality; identity documents (passport, birth certificate) accompanied by photo identification; and evidence to show the applicant was physically present in the U.S. on Jan. 12, 2010. Interpreters will be on site and all necessary forms to assist in the completion of the TPS request will be available.
Leroy Pernell, dean of the FAMU College of Law, said this type of work exemplifies what the law school is about.
“The FAMU College of Law Legal Clinic Program was developed to provide practical education for our students and assist in meeting the legal needs of the traditionally underserved in our area,” Pernell said. “Our students continually provide services to diverse communities, which addresses part of our overall mission.”
Fredrick Humphries, Former FAMU President and current Regent professor at the college of law, was also impressed.
“I am extremely pleased that [the College of Law] has mounted an effort to provide TPS services to the Haitian people,” Humphries said.
An advisory panel consisting of faculty members, law school alumnae and board certified immigration attorneys have been created to ensure the process is administered correctly.
FAMU law faculty members Eunice Caussade-Garcia, Nicky Boothe-Perry, Linda Rohrbaugh and Ka’Juel Washington will supervise law students who administer the TPS documents in May.
Brian Williams, a senior political science student from Jacksonville, Fla., was impressed with the news. Williams said the project has provided quality community service and will also help to raise FAMU Law School’s standing among good law schools.
“It is a good gesture to help out on the humanitarian side,” Williams said. “It’s good for an HBCU to do things to help the global community.”
Amy Renee Smith, a sophomore psychology student from Pompano Beach, Fla., was happy that Haitians were getting needed assistance, but felt the assistance should be extended to more people.
“I would like them to extend it to other immigrants in need as well,” Smith said.