Sheila Jackson Lee urges President Trump to reconsider ending Haitian protected status order

HOUSTON - President Trump is feeling some heat over his administration's decision to end protected status for about 59,000 Haitian nationals currently living in the U.S.

"What a sad gift for Thanksgiving," Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee announced at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

The congresswoman is now urging the president to reconsider.

"Mr. President, please suspend this order," she said.

She and other high-profile Democrats sent Trump an urgent letter.

"We are requesting the immediate suspension of Temporary Protected Status elimination order by the Department of Homeland Security due to the continuing critical situation that still exists paralyzing the country of Haiti," Lee read.

She says about 1,500 TPS Haitian nationals live in Houston today.

Lee says TPS Haitians face the same kind of crisis Houstonians did with Hurricane Harvey.

"You could see the hurt in our communities, people looking for the help that is needed," the congresswoman recalled. "Many of these individuals who are under the TPS status will face the same crisis tomorrow when that order is official."

Haitians who came to the U.S. following the devastating earthquake in 2010 were granted Temporary Protected Status.

But the Department of Homeland Security has declared, "Those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist."

Yet, other facts do remain.

"We can attest to the fact that Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere," Lee insisted.

And the United Nations estimates about 55,000 Haitians are still struggling, with thousands living in make-shift camps more than seven years after the quake.

That's why Lee and others hope the president will have a change of heart about Haiti.