Trump administration ends temporary protection for Haitians

An official said Haitians in the country who were displaced by the natural disaster had decreased by 97 percent from its 2010 peak and that a Haitian government was in place after two years of an electoral impasse. "Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitian citizens", said an official statement, "and Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens".

But campaigners say the Trump administration has unfairly singled out small numbers of the most vulnerable people as part of its tougher stance on immigration.

In September, Ms Duke ended protected status for citizens of Sudan as of 2018, but extended it for citizens of South Sudan through mid-2019.

Second to the people of El Salvador, Haitians are the second largest group of people with temporary status in the United States. They have said their decisions on further extensions are made on the basis of whether the initial justification for the status still exists.

This month, Ms Duke chose to end the status for Nicaraguan immigrants, but extended the program for Honduran immigrants until July 2018. "They gave them six months the last time, and now they're giving them three times as long". The deferral came after an unsuccessful White House effort to pressure her to end their TPS authorization, officials said at the time. Since then, the Caribbean nation has been hit with several hurricanes that left hundreds dead.

According to Monday's announcement, "the termination of TPS for Haiti will be delayed 18 months" in order to ensure a smooth transition. But if beneficiaries stay in the USA without legal status after TPS ends, they will lose that coverage.

He added that Duke also solicited input from the congressional delegation in Florida, which has a large number of Haitian TPS beneficiaries.

TPS communities are terrified, and already Haitians are desperately fleeing north to seek asylum in Canada. That could complicate decisions for families faced with returning to Haiti.

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, told LifeZette that the extended delay was disappointing.

Rocio Saenz, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union, which claims thousands of members living here under TPS, called the decision "heartbreaking, and harmful in every way". For example, Maria Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for the liberal health care advocacy group Health Care for All, said TPS beneficiaries are now eligible to buy insurance on the state's Health Connector.

TPS holders, who include a relatively small number of Africans in addition to Central Americans and Haitians, "have more than 270,000 US -born children", she said in a statement, "and thousands of grandchildren". They argue that it is contrary to American values to force people to return to a country that is unsafe and unstable. "Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated". Thinking about the Haitian TPS population in Massachusetts, Healey said, "I think about the fear, I think about the anxiety and I think about how unnecessary all of this is, and it's why I stood up along with others in advocating for the extension of TPS".

Clarke says that rebuilding in Haiti is supported by remittances from the Haitian community in the United States, and that "these remittances are critical to the recovery, and have provided for basic needs, including education, agricultural restoration, business development, and home reconstruction". And on Thanksgiving Day, the only right decision is to extend our welcome to the Haitians.

Critics of Trump's decision say TPS beneficiaries, who are allowed to work in the USA, contribute to the economy and pay taxes.

  • Rogelio Becker