Trump Administration Will End Haiti’s Immigration Protected Status

The Trump administration has announced plans to end the protected status that has allowed Haitians who fled the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake to stay in the U.S., claiming that the protection is no longer necessary.

Announcing the change, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement:

The decision to terminate TPS (temporary protected status) for Haiti was made after a review of the conditions upon which the country’s original designation were based and whether those extraordinary but temporary conditions prevented Haiti from adequately handling the return of their nationals, as required by statute. Based on all available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, Acting Secretary Duke determined that those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist.

The Obama administration granted Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that demolished much of Haiti’s infrastructure, killed 230,000 people and displaced many thousands more.

It’s believed that around 60,000 former residents of Haiti living in the U.S. could be affected by this decision. They will have until July of 2019 to leave the U.S. or apply for residency based on some other means. Failure to do so could provoke deportation proceedings.

This is part of a wider effort by the Trump administration as it seeks to dramatically reduce immigration into the country. Earlier this fall, DHS ended the protected status for Nicaragua, giving those affected 12 months to make preparations to leave. The DHS is also considering ending the protected status of people fleeing Honduras. A six-month extension to that program is now in place. Meanwhile, El Salvador’s status is due for adjudication in January, but it will likely end.

In total, the BBC tallies that the Temporary Protected Status program currently provides temporary visas for just over 435,000 people from 10 countries — all of which are embattled by war or suffering from natural disasters. The Trump administration maintains that the TPS program is not the proper mechanism for granting such relief, and officials have urged Congress to act.

Until now, the systematic effort to close down this program hasn’t earned much press — but with the announcement of Haiti’s TPS being revoked, people are now paying attention.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand slammed the decision, saying via Twitter that the decision represents an “astounding lack of compassion”.

Senator Bill Nelson echoed those sentiments, calling the change “unconscionable,” but he also highlighted the need for a “permanent legislative solution”:

Perhaps the most pertinent statements came from Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lethinen, who said that she had personally traveled to Haiti and knows firsthand that the nation is in no position to take back this many people:

UN officials note that over 55,000 Haitians are still living in camps, and many are dealing with infectious diseases and the risks posed by unsanitary conditions.

Indeed, even where reconstruction efforts are underway, much of the work is only half completed because of Haiti’s economic status. In addition, unemployment remains catastrophically high, meaning that people returning to Haiti will be unlikely to be able to find work, support themselves financially and stay ahead of poverty.

This begs the question, how exactly did DHS arrive at the decision that Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status was no longer needed? It’s one thing to end a program and own that decision, but it’s quite another to make excuses that are not supported by facts.

Congress must act immediately to address this situation or else the U.S. may well be sending people back to uncertain futures, abject poverty — and even death.

Photo credit: Alex Prolmos.

67 comments

Marie W
Marie W24 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Lisa M
Lisa M1 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M1 months ago

Noted.

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R2 months ago

Thank you for posting

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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Peggy B
Peggy B2 months ago

Noted

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Elaine W
Elaine W3 months ago

tRump adminiatration should have to answer for the cruelty and harm that has been already done. Make them answer and vote them out.

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Angel W
Past Member 3 months ago

thanks

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R3 months ago

Thank you for posting.

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