Advocates: Florida To Suffer If Trump Cuts Immigrant Program

In this Sept. 2, 2017, photo, Marta Rivera consoles her 10-year-old daughter, Santo, who sobbed as her mother described how she became more anxious about being deported since Donald Trump was elected president, during a meeting with an immigration advocate at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Houston. People in the United States illegally fear that seeking federal disaster aid after Hurricane Harvey will result in getting deported, prompting them to turn to places of worship and private charities instead. Photo: AP Photo/Elliot Spagat.

MIAMI (AP) — Immigrant advocates and officials are warning Florida’s economy could suffer if the U.S. government does not renew a program that protects almost 45,000 Haitians and Central Americans in the state from deportation.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime said Friday that Florida could lose nearly $2 billion annually if President Donald Trump’s administration does not renew Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, Hondurans and Salvadorans.

Haitian-born Monestime worries immigrants working in construction and service industries would lose work permits. Groups say there are thousands of U.S.-born children with parents under the program.

The humanitarian program staves off deportation to countries ravaged by war or natural disasters, such as Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. Previous administrations had renewed it for years.

Haitians received a shorter renewal in May that expires in January, and Hondurans and Nicaraguans should know earlier next month.