Trump Admin. Sending Haitians Home in 2019
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What’s the story?
The Trump administration announced it’s ending the temporary residency permit program for about 60,000 Haitians living in the U.S. The deportations will begin in July 2019.
The Obama administration first granted "temporary protected status" (TPS) to Haitian residents after a 2010 earthquake devastated the Caribbean island. The magnitude-7.0 earthquake killed over 200,000 and displaced hundreds of thousands. But the Department of Homeland Security said that conditions in Haiti have significantly improved, and it’s time for those residing in the U.S. to return home.
"Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced people in Haiti has decreased by 97 percent," the department said in a press release. "Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens."
Why does it matter?
Elaine Duke, acting director of DHS, said in a statement that conditions in Haiti that required TPS for its residents "no longer exist."
"The decision to terminate TPS for Haiti was made after a review of the conditions upon which the country’s original designation were based and whether those extraordinary but temporary conditions prevented Haiti from adequately handling the return of their nationals, as required by statute," DHS said in a statement.
"Based on all available information…[DHS] determined that those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist."
Bipartisan lawmakers from Florida – which is home to the country’s largest Haitian population – criticized the move.
Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart tweeted he was "strongly opposed to and disagree with the decision to end #TPS for Haiti." In a follow-up tweet, the Florida legislature said:
These individuals experienced severe loss and suffering as a result of the 2010 earthquake, and forcing them to leave the United States would be detrimental. Almost eight years later, #Haiti remains in total disarray and still requires much rebuilding. https://t.co/bHHlTrHjrn— Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) November 21, 2017
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson called DHS’ decision "unconscionable," tweeting:
There is no reason to send 60,000 Haitians back to a country that cannot provide for them. This decision today by DHS is unconscionable. And I am strongly urging the administration to reconsider. Ultimately, we need a permanent legislative solution. https://t.co/Ft0bE0itf6— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) November 21, 2017
DHS said the deportations wouldn’t happen for 18 months so Haitians with TPS status would have ample time to "to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible."
What do you think?
Should Haitians with TPS status be deported in 2019? Do you agree with DHS that the conditions in Haiti caused by the earthquake "no longer exist"? Or do you support Diaz-Balart’s statement that “forcing them to leave the United States would be detrimental”? Hit Take Action, tell your reps, then comment below.
(Photo Credit: 1001nights / iStockphoto)
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