The Trump administration has recently declared a new ruling on a residency program that has allowed Haitian citizens a temporary stay in the U.S. since 2010.
On Tuesday, the administration announced that the program — which allowed Haitian citizens into the U.S. following a devastating 2010 earthquake — will be terminated in July 2019.
“Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced people in Haiti has decreased by 97 percent,” acting Homeland Security secretary Elaine Duke said in a statement.
“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,” Duke said.
“Haiti has also demonstrated a commitment to adequately prepare for when the country’s TPS designation is terminated,” Duke’s added.
She said that giving Haitians 18 months to leave the U.S. will allow for an “orderly transition,” permitting the Haitians to “arrange their departure” and their government to prepare for their arrival.
More than 300,000 non-citizens are granted Temporary Protected Status. The designation was created in 1990 to protect individuals form deportation if natural disasters or armed conflict created instability or precarious conditions, leading them to come to the U.S.
The action is not the first taken by the Trump administration to withdraw the TPS designation.
Earlier this month, the administration gave about 2,500 Nicaraguans 14 months to leave the U.S. At that time, Duke deferred action on 57,000 Hondurans. Both groups had been given TPS after a 1998 hurricane hit their nations.
The largest group of TPS recipients, 200,000 Salvadorans, have been told their protected status expires in January. They had been allowed in the U.S. since El Salvador was hit by earthquakes in 2001.
The latest action was opposed by many in Congress who want those under TPS to be allowed to remain.
“I traveled to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 and after hurricane Matthew in 2016. So I can personally attest that Haiti is not prepared to take back nearly 60,000 TPS recipients under these difficult and harsh conditions,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
I travelled to #Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 and after hurricane Matthew in 2016. So I can personally attest that #Haiti is not prepared to take back nearly 60,000 #TPS recipients under these difficult and harsh conditions.
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) November 21, 2017
These individuals are established, respected members of our communities who have made significant contributions, and I urge the administration to reconsider its decision regarding Haitian and Nicaraguan nationals. #Haiti #TPS https://t.co/9Nn3sJ5EhC
— Mario Diaz-Balart (@MarioDB) November 21, 2017
However, Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said the step was “long overdue.”
“The notion that this would be reflexively renewed again and again is a corruption of the entire concept,” said Stein.
“It’s not a refugee program or an immigration program,” he said. “It’s supposed to be reviewed and it’s supposed to be temporary.”
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