The Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is scheduled to arrive in Haiti today for a four-hour visit. The 38 organizations who wrote Sec. Kelly hope that he will reconsider his May 22 decision to only extend Temporary Protected Status for Haitian nationals for six months instead of 18 months. In an official statement, DHS did not mention TPS but stated that Sec. Kelly will meet with the Haitian President Jovenel Moïse “to discuss international cooperation and issues related to repatriation, as well as efforts to build Haiti’s maritime law enforcement capacity, and to encourage cooperation between the Dominican Republic and Haiti’s nascent border security unit.”
In their letter, the organizations provided Sec. Kelly with a list of individuals and organizations to talk to, and places to visit in order for him to have a better understanding of Haiti’s precarious conditions. Kelly’s four-hour trip already met with disappointment by advocacy groups who believe he should spend more time and visit more places like post-earthquake tent cities, cholera treatment centers or storm-ravaged areas that highlight the conditions of the country.
“That’s horrible,” said U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., “We asked him to go to Haiti and survey the conditions on the ground so that he can make an assessment as to Haiti’s ability to absorb deportees back to Haiti. This defeats the purpose.” similarly, Steven Forester, IJDH’s Immigration Policy Coordinator, said: “Learning about the extraordinary blows Haitians have suffered requires an open mind and more than a quick ‘in-and-out’ visit to the palace.”
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Will four hours in Haiti influence Homeland Security Secretary Kelly on TPS?
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
May 30, 2017
A week after the Department of Homeland Security gave thousands of Haitians just six more months to legally work and live in the United States, casting doubt on their fate after January, the department’s chief is headed to Haiti.
But don’t expect DHS Secretary John Kelly to visit any post-earthquake tent cities, cholera treatment centers, or the hurricane-ravaged and famine-plagued southern coast after he arrives in Port-au-Prince Wednesday afternoon.
Kelly’s visit, according to sources, will last just four hours, and he will remain on the grounds of the earthquake-destroyed National Palace. There, he will meet with Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and other senior government officials, and the head of the soon departing United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, Sandra Honoré.
“That’s horrible,” said U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who wrote to Kelly on May 22 inviting him to accompany her to Haiti after he opted to renew the Temporary Protected Status or TPS program for only an additional six months rather than the 18 months she and others had requested.
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