US extends 'temporary protected status' to Haitians until January

The DHS in its statement issued Monday urged Haitian TPS recipients who do not have another immigration status to use the time before January 22, 2018 to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States - including proactively seeking travel documentation - or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.

Orrick cited Trump's reference to the order as a "weapon" as evidence that the administration meant to cut off a broad swath of federal funding, not just three U.S. Department of Justice and Homeland Security grants as government attorneys argued.

Immigration advocates hoped the government would extend the status for another 18 months because Haiti, a country still reeling from Hurricane Matthew a year ago and the aftermath of the 2010 quake, which devastated the capital city of Port-au-Prince and killed more than 200,000 people, is not ready to take back tens of thousands of people.

Kelly said in a statement that he made a decision to extend the TPS designation after reviewing the conditions in Haiti and conversing with members of its government.

While DHS has pointed to indicators that conditions in Haiti have improved since 2010, including the closure of refugee camps in the island nation, advocates and legal service providers have refuted this position.

Altidor said the Caribbean country, while glad to welcome back "our brothers and sisters", was not ready to absorb tens of thousands of returnees "overnight".

The worst part about the possible end is the prospect of parents forced to return to Haiti having to decide what to do with their children who are USA citizens, said Aude M.L. Sicard, of Pembroke Pines, the former longtime president of the Haitian-American Democratic Club of Broward. Since then, the country has struggled to rebuild and to shore up its economy, and has contended with hurricane disasters, political turmoil and a sweeping cholera epidemic. President Jovenel Moise was sworn in in February.

"We want to entreat the government of the United States to continue to give the same humanitarian consideration that has characterized successive extension of the TPS". Mixed-status families could be torn apart. Recipients must have been living in the United States since the designation, so newcomers are not eligible.

There are roughly 58,700 Haitians living in the U.S. on the TPS scheme, many in a large Haitian community in Florida, as well as NY and MA.

Immigrant-rights advocates say conditions in Haiti are so rough that they deserve a longer-term protection, but Homeland Security officials said Mr. Kelly was following the strict letter of the law, which says he is supposed to look at the factors that led to the TPS grant in 2010 - in this case, the quake.

"The decision to extend temporary protected status, announced during Haitian Heritage Month, is welcome news for Florida and all those displaced by the devastating natural disaster who now call our state home", Graham, a former member of Congress from Tallahassee, declared in a news release.

"This decision reflects the compassion and generosity of spirit that should be the hallmark of USA policy toward Haitians in the United States who are unable to safely return to their homeland", Markey said.

Fanm Ayisen Nan Miyami, a group that has been lobbying for a TPS extension, immediately slammed the six months extension on Twitter.

Having TPS has allowed Haitian immigrants to remain in the United States past the expiration of their visas and to work legally.

Larrieux says USA involvement in Haiti has not exactly improved conditions on the island nation.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) agreed that Haiti is in no condition to receive the large amount of citizens back in the country. With subsequent droubt and more flooding, "they still haven't been able to begin to recover from that". Previous extensions had been granted for 18 months.

The 58,706 Haitians now benefiting from Temporary Protected Status, which allows them to live and work in the country legally, will be allowed to stay in the U.S. Under the extension, current beneficiaries are required to re-register and apply for new work documents that will expire on January 22, 2018. She added, "Anything less would be irresponsible and reckless". Mayor de Blasio recently cosigned a letter to Secretary Kelly, calling on DHS to renew TPS for Haitians.

DHS denied that, telling VOA in an email at the time that "the secretary's decision will be based on a thorough assessment of the conditions in the country...."

In February, Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, co-chairwoman of the House Carribbean Caucus, introduced legislation that would expand TPS to include all Haitian nationals who were in the United States before November 4, 2016. The trio's status expired Sunday.

  • Delores Daniels