Hundreds Of Haitian Disney Employees May Be Forced To Leave The U.S.
Nearly 500 Walt Disney World employees could lose their jobs at the magical theme park due to a federal immigration agency’s recommendation that the U.S. end its temporary protections for about 50,000 Haitians.
When a massive earthquake struck in 2010 tens of thousands of Haitians were invited to apply for temporary protected status in the U.S. Due to the destruction on the island that temporary status has been extended several times.
Now it’s looking like things could change. According to USA Today, Citizen and Immigration Services’ acting director James McCament recommended on Thursday that the U.S. end the temporary protections by next January. McCament based his recommendation on improved conditions in Haiti.
Disney is worried about the impact that temporary status change would have on the park’s employment. The company and Unite Here, a union that represents many of the company’s workers, are fighting for protections to be extended.
Unite Here held a press conference for Disney Cast Members and Hospitality Union Leaders on Wednesday afternoon. The Walt Disney Co. said in a statement:
“Given the current situation in Haiti we support efforts to extend the Temporary Protected Status for Haitian nationals. The more than 500 cast members who are currently part of this program have been and are an important part of our Walt Disney World workforce in Central Florida.”
Those supporting the protected status say that ending it would bring hardship upon 50,000 Haitians in the United States and many more residents of Haiti who receive financial help from their relatives here in the U.S.
The Miami Herald reported that seven years after the devastating destruction of the island more than 40,000 people in Haiti still live in makeshift shelters and that the country is still dealing with hunger and housing crisies following Hurricane Matthew.