Trump Administration Tells Thousands of Haitians They Must Leave the US

Pauline Gross
November 22, 2017

On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced its decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, designation for Haiti. Haitians under TPS now have until July 2019 to leave the country.

But the Trump administration has repeatedly noted that the program was meant to be temporary, and not a way for people to become long-term legal residents of the United States.

"The law is relatively explicit, that if the conditions on the ground do not support a TPS designation, then the secretary must terminate", the official said.

Termination of TPS will affect not only some 50,000-60,000 Haitians who are in the USA on TPS, but also their families, including approximately 30,000 US -citizen children born in the Haitians in TPS status since 2010 (when TPS was conferred after the quake that killed thousands on the island).

Haitians with TPS will not be targeted by immigration officials for early deportation, senior officials said.

"In 2017 alone", Duke said, "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services conducted extensive outreach to the Haitian communities throughout the country".

In May the Trump administration announced it would extend protections to Haitians who fled to the US until January 2018, but might shut down the program early in the new year.

More than half the Haitians affected by Monday's announcement live in Florida, where lawmakers had asked that they be allowed to remain.

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I earnestly hope the administration will account for these concerns when they make a determination on whether to extend TPS for Haitians. "Temporary Protected Status is a program that needs to be defended, and we must fight for it".

Acting Secretary Duke met with Haitian Foreign Minister Antonio Rodrigue and Haitian Ambassador to the United States Paul Altidor recently in Washington to discuss the issue.

"The law makes it clear that TPS for Haiti must end", he said.

About 1,000 people lost their lives and survivors were left to rebuild and recover once more.

The federal government rarely has canceled TPS designations once granting them.

Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said, "We're relieved there is an extension of TPS for 18 months, but we remain concerned that Haiti won't be ready to take back 58,000 Haitians across the USA and 5,800 here in Massachusetts".

"Brooklyn families from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua, among others, should not have to worry about being ripped apart due to draconian immigration measures such as the proposed termination of Temporary Protected Status", said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a statement echoed by other local representatives. After the United Nations diminished its presence in the country last month, it is more important than ever that the United States support global efforts to enhance and maintain security in Haiti and build up its capacity for ensuring the country's security. Representative Illean Ros-Lehtinen took to Twitter Monday evening to share what she saw on the ground in Haiti after both disasters, writing that she "can personally attest that Haiti is not prepared to take back almost 60,000 TPS recipients under these hard and harsh conditions".

Haiti faced further devastation in October 2010, when Hurricane Matthew brought widespread devastation to the island nation.

Other reports by GizPress

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