On Monday, Nov. 20, Elaine Duke, the Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary announced that the special deportation protection known as Temporary Protection Status or simply as TPS will be revoked for an estimated 59,000 Haitians living and working in Miami.
According to the Miami Herald, this protection allowed Haitians to live in the U.S. while their homeland recovers from 2010’s devastating 7.0 earthquake will end on July 22, 2019. That earthquake left 300,000 dead and almost 2 million injured and many displaced.
After this July deadline, Haitians with TPS status will have 18 months to return to their country. If they are still in the U.S. when that timeline expires, they could face possible “detention and deportation” for staying in America.
This decision comes on the heels of the Department of Homeland Security’s to terminate TPS for nearly 3,000 Nicaraguans and delay a decision about nearly 60,000 Hondurans, which gave them a six-month extension after their status expires in January 2018.
Haitian activists and congressional leaders noted it would be a disaster Haiti to absorb their citizens while the country is in recovery mode. On Nov. 20, Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, tweeted: “There is no reason to send 60,000 Haitians back to a country that cannot provide for them. This decision today by DHS is unconscionable. And am strongly urging the administration to reconsider.”
In August, the Miami Herald reported that Haitians who were worried about Trump closing the door to freedom took matters into their own hands and illegally crossed into Quebec (which has a large population of Haitians) because they feared being detained in U.S. or being sent back to Haiti. Folks on the other side of the immigration debate say that TPS was never meant to be permanent.
Randolph McGrorty, an attorney and director of Catholic Legal Services in Miami (which provides legal advice to the Haitian community) told the Miami Herald, “Some disasters take a long time to recover from. What happened in Haiti is a good example… It takes time.”
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