President Trump is giving 59,000 Haitians the boot, revoking the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that has allowed them to build lives here in the United States ever since the devastating 2010 natural disaster that wrecked their home country.
In May, then-Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said that he would extend the protections for Haitians for six months, but warned Haitians in the program they should get travel documents and start preparing to leave.
The New York Times reports that about 350,000 people benefit from the TPS program, and that "Those with temporary protection constitute about half of the estimated 110,000 Haitians living in the United States without permanent permission" and that Haitians with TPS are parents to almost 30,000 US-born children.
Haitian immigrants were first given TPS in 2010 by the Obama administration after one of the region's most destructive earthquakes affected an estimated 3 million people and killed more than 200,000. "Since the 2010 quake, the number of displaced people in Haiti has decreased by 97 percent", writes DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke.
TPS communities are terrified, and already Haitians are desperately fleeing north to seek asylum in Canada. Florida and Texas may be particularly hard hit as they continue to recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. "In the midst of rebuilding and revitalizing its overall infrastructure, large influxes of nationals will disrupt and negatively impact the nation's path towards recovery", Opal Tometi, BAJI's executive director and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, said in a statement.
The senior official who briefed reporters, said that the 18-month "wind-down" period for the Haitians was enough time "to allow families with US -born children to make decisions about what to do, and make arrangements".
Most of the Haitians live in Florida, and Sen. We must remain committed to those principles and stand with our neighbors in Haiti as they tackle their challenges.
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The Trump administration announced Monday it was ending the special designation effective July 2019.
"It is not consistent with the traditions and values of the United States to order the return of large numbers of foreign nationals who have been following our laws and contributing to our economy and culture to countries that are risky, politically unstable, and incapable of providing basic services and protections for their citizens", Baker wrote. "Temporary Protected Status is a program that needs to be defended, and we must fight for it".
"The unfortunate treatment of those that hold Temporary Protected Status in this country under this Administration is dishonorable and disgraceful", said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, a daughter of Haitian immigrants.
Officials said Monday that the political climate in Haiti had stabilized.
The federal government rarely has canceled TPS designations once granting them.
Centro Presente, a Boston-based Latin American advocacy organization, called Trump's decision to terminate the Haiti program "ill-advised and cruel". "Only Congress can take action to reform the TPS program or address the concerns voiced by many that these individuals should have a future in the United States".