Homeland Security Ends Temporary Deportation Protection for 60000 Haitians

Frederick Owens
November 22, 2017

Department officials said Monday that conditions in Haiti have improved significantly since the quake, so the benefit will be extended one last time until July 2019 to give Haitians time to prepare to return home.

In an editorial titled "Let the Haitians Stay", the New York Times editors pleaded with DHS officials to keep the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for an estimated 86,000 Haitian nationals running.

On November 6, Duke announced the decision to terminate TPS designation for Nicaragua effective on January 5, 2019.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke believes the county has recovered from the disaster, senior administration officials said.

Days before the Nicaraguan and Honduran decision was announced, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson informed Duke that the State Department assessed that TPS was no longer necessary for the Central Americans and Haitians.

Clarke says that rebuilding in Haiti is supported by remittances from the Haitian community in the USA, and that "these remittances are critical to the recovery, and have provided for basic needs, including education, agricultural restoration, business development, and home reconstruction".

The senior official who briefed reporters, said that the 18-month "wind-down" period for the Haitians was enough time "to allow families with USA -born children to make decisions about what to do, and make arrangements".

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And once they're gone, they're Haiti's problem again.

The Haitian government had asked the Trump administration to extend the protected status.

"Tomorrow hundreds of Unite Here and other union workers and Haitian immigrants from Southern and Central Florida will confront Mar-A-Lago to tell Trump that as his family gathers for the holidays, we will not allow him to quietly destroy 50,000 other families", says Wendi Walsh, a representative with Unite Here in Miami, in a statement. It protects individuals from deportation and authorizes them to work in the US.

The Haitians are among several groups of foreigners living in this country under TPS, some of them for decades, and awaiting a decision on whether their status will be renewed. "We have 18 months to continue to mobilize, to continue to organize, to make the case to our government", Forry said. Many of them work in fields like home care.

According to Monday's announcement by DHS, "the termination of TPS for Haiti will be delayed 18 months", in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Rocio Saenz, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union, which claims thousands of members living here under TPS, called the decision "heartbreaking, and harmful in every way". Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, is still recovering from the natural disaster, despite claims from DHS that "significant steps have been taken to improve... stability" in Haiti. 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". "For anyone that has been to Haiti in recent months, it is clear that the Administration's decision does not coincide with the unsafe reality on the ground".

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