Trump administration ends temporary protection for Haitians
Washington, Nov 21 (IANS) President Donald Trump’s administration is ending a humanitarian programme that has allowed some 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the US since an earthquake ravaged their country in 2010, White House officials said.
Haitians with what is known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will be expected to leave the US by July 2019 or face deportation, The New York Times quoted the officials as saying.
The decision came after the Department of Homeland Security determined that the “extraordinary conditions” justifying their presence following the earthquake “no longer exist”.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still struggling to rebuild from the disastrous 7.0-magnitude quake that struck the nation on January 12, 2010, killing over 100,000 people.
It relies heavily on money its expatriates send to relatives back home.
Most of the Haitians live in Florida, and Senator Marco Rubio called publicly last week for their protected status to be extended, reports The Washington Post.
“Haitians sent home will face dire conditions, including lack of housing, inadequate health services and low prospects for employment,” Rubio wrote in the Miami Herald.
“Failure to renew the TPS designation will weaken Haiti’s economy and impede its ability to recover completely and improve its security.”
Earlier this month, the administration announced it would not renew the provisional residency of 2,500 Nicaraguans, and gave them 14 months to leave the US.
Both the Nicaraguans and Hondurans have been shielded from deportation since a devastating 1998 hurricane hit those nations.
TPS status for an additional 200,000 Salvadorans, here since El Salvador was struck by a series of earthquakes in 2001, is also due to expire in January 2018.