Published On: Wed, Nov 22nd, 2017

US ends temporary protected status for Haitians

Elaine DukeWASHINGTON - Haitians living in the United States under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation have been given 18 months to get out of the country.

The Donald Trump administration yesterday announced that it would not be renewing the TPS that has allowed Haitians to remain in the country following the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said the decision to end provisional legal residency for Haitians came after it was determined that the extraordinary conditions caused by the earthquake, which justified their presence in the US, no longer exist.

She said the 18-month deadline will allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019.

“This will provide time for individuals with TPS to arrange for their departure or to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible. It will also provide time for Haiti to prepare for the return and reintegration of their citizens,” Duke said.

She met with Haitian Foreign Minister Antonio Rodrigue and Haitian Ambassador to the United States Paul Altidor recently in Washington to discuss the issue.

The Department of Homeland Security noted that since the earthquake seven years ago, 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,” it added.

In May this year, then-Secretary John Kelly announced a limited extension for Haiti’s TPS designation, stating that he believed there were indications that Haiti – if its recovery from the 2010 earthquake continued at pace – might not warrant further TPS extension past January 2018.

At the time, Kelly said his six-month extension should give Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States, and should also provide the Haitian government with the time it needs to prepare for the future repatriation of all current TPS recipients.

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