Published: Tue, May 23, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

Trump admin to extend protections for Haitians 6 months

Trump admin to extend protections for Haitians 6 months

Temporary protection ended this week for a smaller group of people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

"Last week, I asked the White House to extend the TPS deadline for Haitians until at least January 18, and I'm glad to see that the administration agreed". A final decision about the long-term fate of those immigrants will be decided at a later date.

The Temporary Protected Status for 50,000 Haitians was set to expire in July.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration said Monday it will extend until January a humanitarian program that has allowed roughly 58,000 Haitians to live in the United States, but it is hinting that further extensions are unlikely.

"The secretary has received commitments and statements from the Haitian government that they actually do in fact want their TPS recipients living in the United States to return to Haiti to help rebuild their country", the official said.

There are roughly 58,700 Haitians living in the U.S. on the TPS scheme, many in a large Haitian community in Florida, as well as NY and MA. The latest extension means that Haitians with TPS can breathe for now but will face the same suspense in November, when DHS must again decide whether to extend their TPS or allow it to expire. "Six months from now, we'll be facing the exact same situation".

"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", said Secretary Kelly. The judge rejected the claim that the executive order applies only to a relatively small pot of money and said President Donald Trump can not set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.

Senior Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters that Kelly based his decision on conditions including damage to infrastructure and housing and the status of the cholera epidemic and found that conditions had substantially improved since 2010.

The department said they feel encouraged by what they say is Haiti's progress since an quake that devastated the country back on January 12, 2010.

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U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson, whose South Florida district includes Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood, encouraged DHS officials "to join me on a trip to Haiti so they can view firsthand exactly what Haitian natives living in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status would be returning to".

There was no immediate comment from the Haitian government.

"The decision to extend temporary protected status, announced during Haitian Heritage Month, is welcome news for Florida and all those displaced by the devastating natural disaster who now call our state home", Graham, a former member of Congress from Tallahassee, declared in a news release.

DHS denied that, telling VOA in an email at the time that "the secretary's decision will be based on a thorough assessment of the conditions in the country...."

Kelly said Haiti has "made progress across several fronts".

The administration of President Donald Trump plans to working with the Haitian government and helping the country in providing travel documentation for its nationals, Kelly stressed.

Officials said Kelly chose to extend TPS based on current conditions on the ground.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported it had obtained internal emails from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services showing the agency sought information on criminal activity by Haitians temporarily in the United States.

"They are trying to play with words, claiming they are extending it for six months", Bastien said.

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