23 May, 2017
DHS Secretary John Kelly announced today that "Temporary Protected Status" for Haitians who were here illegally or on a visitor visa at the time of the 2010 natural disaster would be extended yet again, for six months.
The issue is important in Florida, which has the largest Haitian immigrant population in the USA, and is the state where numerous estimated 58,000 Haitians who are under the temporary protections live.
The TPS program provided temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who were in the United States and whose personal safety would have been endangered by returning to Haiti. A person who is found to be eligible for TPS can not be removed from the United States and is permitted to work and travel. Their TPS status was set to expire on June 22, worrying immigration advocates that they would be deported back to Haiti.
The DHS officials said that while the TPS status will be extended until Jan 22, 2018, recipients should get their affairs in order, including getting travel documentation from their government. "Even though it's only a snapshot and not representative of the entire situation, we need more than "Haiti is really poor" stories".
Applicants will be expected to re-register through the government to receive an extension to their work authorization for up to 180 days, or through January 2018.
Prior to the decision, some 50,000 Haitians living and working in the United States were at risk of being deported back to Haiti, which is dealing with a multitude of conflicts-or staying in the United States and becoming undocumented.
"This six-month extension should allow 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", Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a prepared statement".
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Some members of his congregation have temporary protected status and are anxious about their futures, he said. "It can't continue in perpetuity".
"The Haitian program is so important", says Stephen Legomsky, a USCIS chief counsel during the Obama administration.
Support was unprecedented because the justifying facts on the ground are, as evidenced by an 8-page single-spaced December assessment by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that conditions warranting TPS persist in Haiti, and then-Secretary of State Kerry's recommendation that it be extended.
Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which works to limit immigration to the US, said his reading of Kelly's decision indicates the latest extension is the final one.
"It's very unfortunate that the federal government would take this position with the Haitian community - singling out the Haitian community", Walsh said as he marched in the annual Haitian parade yesterday in Mattapan. The city also conducted outreach efforts at subway stations about TPS for Haitians, particularly in the heavily Caribbean-American neighborhood of Flatbush, Brooklyn. They came through Central America to the US previous year looking for work after job opportunities from the World Cup and the Olympics dried up. "By our estimates, a Haitian national with TPS impacts the economic livelihood of as many as five (5) Haitian households". However, that extension probably won't be enough, and the United States will have to be ready to do more. "We are a country of compassion". Status in Sudan and South Sudan will expire in November 2017.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry wrote to Kelly earlier this month urging an extension, as did U.S. Senator Edward Markey.