Donald Trump ended Temporary Protection Status for Haitians on Nov. 20. Gwen Graham had a problem with that.
The Democratic candidate for governor announced Wednesday that she backs bipartisan legislation to grant permanent residence to Haitians who currently claim TPS.
Specifically Graham threw her support behind Rep. Carlos Curbelo's ESPERER Act, which would grant permanent residence to TPS recipients from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador, or Honduras who have not been convicted of serious crimes. "Esperer" is a French infinitive that means "to hope."
"Separating families and deporting these Floridians back to areas still suffering will harm them and our state," Graham, a former congresswoman, said in a release.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Florida U.S. representatives from both sides of the aisle: Republicans Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; and Democrats Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the department "may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately."
Graham's camp criticized several prominent Republicans in the Wednesday release: President Donald Trump, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Gov. Rick Scott.
"Donald Trump lied to Florida's Haitian community on the campaign trail and stabbed them in the back," Graham said in the release.
President Trump promised while campaigning in Florida in September 2016 to be a "champion" of the Haitian community. On Nov. 20 he ordered almost 60,000 Haitians —many of them Floridians — to leave the U.S. by July 2019.
Graham's release also knocked Corcoran, Putnam and Scott for being "silent" on Trump's decision to end TPS for Haitians.
Despite Graham's criticism, Scott was quoted in a story right after Trump's decision saying, "Congress must get something passed to help these families have the opportunity to live the American dream in our country."
Putnam or Corcoran could be Graham's eventual general election opponent in the 2018 governor's race. Corcoran has not declared his candidacy, but he is expected to eventually. Putnam is an official candidate.
Representatives for Corcoran and Putnam did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After Scott in May urged the Trump administration to extend TPS for Haitians, the administration did, but only for an additional six months.