The Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is expected to make a decision by Tuesday to extend Temporary Protected Status for nearly 60,000 Haitians have been residing in the U.S. in the past seven years. Those Haitians have become part of the communities where they live and the country’s workforce. They have worked, paid their taxes and supported their loved ones back home. Haiti has been reeled by a series of natural disasters, including the 2010 earthquake, the cholera epidemic (which is still not under control), and the most recent one Hurricane Matthew that ruined the most southern part of the country last October. “The Haitian program is so important,” says Stephen Legomsky, a USCIS chief counsel during the Obama administration. Legomsky added, “There would be tremendous human hardship on a huge scale if thousands of people were to return to the country at once.”
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Trump Administration Could Send Thousands to Crisis-Plagued Haiti—or Underground
Nathalie Baptiste and P.R. Lockhart, Mother Jones
May 22, 2017
Lys Isma lives legally in the United States. She has no memory of ever living anywhere else. But depending on a decision the Trump administration is expected to make by Tuesday, she could be forced to move to Haiti.
The Department of Homeland Security is set to announce whether it will extend a program that allows Haitian nationals to live in the United States because of the dire conditions in Haiti. The Caribbean nation had yet to fully recover from the 2010 earthquake when contamination at a UN base caused a cholera epidemic that has killed 10,000 people. Last October, Hurricane Matthew ripped through the country, killing hundreds more, destroying crops and homes, and displacing thousands.
After the earthquake, the Obama administration gave Haiti a Temporary Protected Status designation. First introduced in 1990, the TPS program provides humanitarian relief to nationals of countries coping with a severe conflict or natural disaster. By providing recipients with legal status and work authorization, TPS designations—typically granted in 6- to 18-month cycles that can be renewed indefinitely—have become a crucial means of aiding people who face unsafe conditions should they be sent back to their home country.
Isma was only nine months old when she came to the United States from Haiti with her family, which continued to live in the country without documents. “It wasn’t until my father was deported when I was seven that I truly understood what it meant to live in fear,” she said on a recent press call organized by immigration advocates.
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