(National Sentinel) Immigration Reform: The Trump administration has issued a new ruling regarding a residency program that has granted Haitian citizens temporary residency status in the United States since 2010.
Haitians had been given temporary residency status in the U.S. after the devastating 2010 earthquake. The ruling will affect about 60,000 citizens of the Caribbean nation.
“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,” she added.
Duke noted that giving the Haitians 18 months to return home will allow for an “orderly transition,” and give them time to “arrange their departure” while their government prepares for their arrival.
There are more than 300,000 non-citizens who have been given Temporary Protected Status so they can remain legally in the U.S.
The designation was created in 1990 in order to protect individuals from being deported if armed conflict or natural disasters made returning to their homelands precarious or dangerous.
The Haitian decision isn’t the first time the Trump administration has rescinded the TPS designation.
Earlier in November, the administration gave some 2,500 citizens of Nicaragua 14 months to return home. At the same time, Duke deferred action on about 57,000 Hondurans.
Members of Congress, including Republicans, said they opposed the decision to send the Haitians back.
“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.
But immigration reform advocates said it was time.
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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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