US to extend protections for Haitians 6 months

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Monday said "after a careful review of the current conditions in Haiti and conversations with the Haitian government", he has agreed to extend the temporary protected status until January 22. The agency had faced a Tuesday deadline to reveal their plans.

Immigrant advocates have intensely lobbied Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly to extend the status, saying Haiti is beset by food shortages, unemployment and widespread poverty, and is unable to repatriate thousands of citizens. "And (it) should also provide the Haitian government with the time it needs to prepare for the future repatriation of all current TPS recipients".

Extending TPS for Haitians has important implications for other groups in the United States who have fled from crisis. He points to the money TPS holders regularly send back to family members in Haiti, an economic boost that would be hard to replace if the program ended. (Indeed the Haitian diaspora in the United States sends about $1 billion a year back to Haiti in remittances.) "It is in the mutual interest of our two governments to renew TPS for Haitians for at least another 18 months", the letter concludes.

In April, USA Today reported that the Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recommended the termination of the Haitian TPS due to improvements on the ground in Haiti. "Also indicative of Haiti's success in recovering from the natural disaster seven years ago is the Haitian government's stated plans to rebuild the Haitian president's residence at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, and the withdrawal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti". Attendees pushed for an extension of temporary protected status for Haitians living in the United States. "I look forward to continuing to work closely with the White House and DHS on this issue", said Sen.

The protection was set to expire July 22, and concerns in the Haitian community were growing.

An estimated 28,000 Haitians live in the Orlando area in 2014, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the Migration Policy Institute. She said she is inviting Homeland Security officials to visit Haiti to view conditions.

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"Six months is not an extension", Fanm Ayisen Nan Miyami tweeted. They cited factors like the rebuilding of the presidential palace and the United Nations deciding to end its peacekeeping mission in Haiti, which officials pointed as a sign of a "stable government that's capable of governing its citizenry".

Supporters of an extension were also concerned that a mass influx of people to Haiti could spark social unrest, amid the United Nations withdrawal and a government that's still in its early stages. He said the administration of President Jovenel Moise, who took office in February, is just beginning to put together reconstruction and development plans.

The Trump administration filed court papers Monday aimed at getting a judge to reconsider his ruling blocking the president's executive order to cut funding from sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with US immigration authorities.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to disclose the decision in advance of an announcement. It allows individuals who could otherwise be deported to stay and work legally, but as the official said, it's temporary. DHS officials stressed that once protective status lapses, Haitian nationals without other legal status will be subject to deportation. More than 20,000 Haitians in NYC benefit from TPS, according to 1199SEIU.

Only Haitians now protected by TPS will be covered by the extension; DHS will not consider new applicants.

  • Alfonso Moody