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Published Sep. 17, 2009

From religious and business leaders to Republican and Democratic members of Congress - all are calling on the Obama administration to grant Temporary Protected Status to thousands of undocumented Haitians living in the United States.

It's only fair that Haitians already here receive TPS after a series of four deadly storms destroyed Haiti's crops, left a million homeless and more than 1,000 dead last year. Deporting them to a country that's in crisis, where Haitians count on remittances from those able to work here, is shortsighted and cruel.

Other immigrant groups, such as Salvadorans and Hondurans, have been granted TPS in the past - and had it renewed - after natural disasters in their countries forced many to leave. In 2008, the Bush administration extended TPS for Honduran and Salvadoran nationals because of the "lingering effects" of Hurricane Mitch a decade ago.

How can it be that President Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano would ignore Haitians' plight when all evidence indicates that granting TPS would not open the floodgates to more migration to Florida?

By allowing Haitians to remain here temporarily - and work legally - most will be able to contribute to rebuilding a country in tatters.