BOSTON — The Vatican’s top churchman in Boston is decrying the Trump administration’s decision to end temporary protected status for tens of thousands of immigrants who fled hardship in Haiti.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley says the government’s decision this week to end the special designation effective July 2019 runs counter to “the spirit of gratitude and generosity embodied in Thanksgiving.”

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston is urging Washington to reconsider sending an estimated 59,000 Haitians back to their impoverished homeland and maintain a posture of “compassion and care” toward those whose visas have expired.

The temporary residency program has allowed Haitians to live and work in the U.S. since 2010, when a powerful earthquake struck Haiti.

O’Malley issued a statement late Wednesday warning of “great pain and suffering” for families eventually deported.

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