1199SEIU Florida Hosts Immigration Clinic To Assist Migrants With TPS And Biden Parole Programs

April 18, 2023

The 1199SEIU office in Miramar opened its doors to members and their families looking for assistance with applications for TPS or Temporary Protected Status and the Biden Administration’s parole program. Both programs provide temporary protections for migrants from designated countries that are experiencing armed conflict, environmental disaster or other hardships or humanitarian crises. 

Immigration Clinic March 2023, 2.jpegThe event was held in partnership with the Florida Immigrant Coalition, a non-profit organization working to protect the rights of immigrants and all Floridians. 1199SEIU Vice President Margarette Nerette, who is originally from Haiti, says there’s a sizeable population of Haitian healthcare workers in Florida so the union felt it was important to host this clinic to help members and their families navigate the application process for these programs. “Many nursing home workers in Florida have come from Haiti and other island nations or from South America,” said Nerette. “Language barriers and limited resources make it difficult for those who need immigration relief to apply for federal programs like TPS and Biden’s Parole program. So, we’re here to guide them and explain what they need to complete the process so they can live without fear of immediate deportation.”

Nerette says that most of the people who came to the event are Haitian. Some shared stories about how the violence and unrest in Haiti has left them nervous and worried about loved ones back home. Last December, the Biden Administration extended TPS for Haitians for another 18 months. This offers relief for recipients, but they must be diligent about continuing to meet eligibility requirements throughout the extended time period through August of 2024.

Jude Derisme, a Vice President with 1199SEIU who is also Haitian, is hopeful more immigrants will take advantage of these and other immigrant relief programs. The union is planning to host another immigration clinic soon. Derisme says it’s our way of giving back to healthcare workers who contribute so much to our workplace and communities. “Healthcare workers provide compassionate care to our loved ones in hospitals and nursing homes,” explained Derisme. “These dedicated workers are angels on earth who deserve our gratitude. So, we’re more than happy to help them apply for immigration relief so they can get the legal protection they need to feel safe and have peace of mind.”