Over 50,000 Haitian immigrants who have lived and worked in the United States since the catastrophic 2010 Haiti earthquake now face imminent deportation as the Trump administration announced the prompt cancellation of their protected status.
The United States government has moved to lift the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of more than 50,000 Haitians who were taken in by the U.S. when disaster struck their home country. They are, however, not alone in their ordeal as hundreds of thousands of others displaced by natural calamities – including Nicaraguans and Hondurans – have also found themselves at the end of their stay in the country.
The Trump administration has given TPS beneficiaries only 18 months to prepare for their eventual deportation in 2019. According to a statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the 18-month lead time was granted to allow for a smooth transition before the TSP designation ends on July 22, 2019.
The statement also noted that the decision made by Elaine Duke, current acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, echoes previous secretary John Kelly’s findings that Haiti was well on its way to full rehabilitation, making it habitable by its people once again, and projects that the status will come to its end after its final six-month extension earlier this year.
“Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced people in Haiti has decreased by 97 percent. Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitian citizens, and Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens. Haiti has also demonstrated a commitment to adequately prepare for when the country’s TPS designation is terminated,” the statement reads.
Immigration advocates and Haitians alike were hardly surprised with the announcement but were no less disappointed.
Peterson Exais, a teenager from Miami with TPS, disagreed with Homeland Security’s portrayal of Haiti, arguing that the country is still “in a really bad condition.”
Exais is calling on Congress to reconsider the decision, arguing that America is the only home he has ever known. He considers himself an American in every way except in the documentation he doesn’t have.
Several non-citizens living in the United States under TPS are getting their statuses revoked as part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration, with many finding the move unjustified and premature. Despite pressure on legislation, no legislative substitutes have emerged.
If you, or a loved one, are under Temporary Protected Status and would like to know how these designation changes might affect you, talk to the immigration law experts of the Lyttle Law Firm and discuss your legal options. Call our offices today at (512) 215.5225 to schedule a consultation with Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.