WASHINGTON, United States, Tuesday May 23, 2017 – More than 58,000 Haitians whose Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States was due to come to an end in July have been given a reprieve.
They’ll get an additional six months in the country without having to worry about deportation.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced yesterday that he has extended the TPS designation for Haiti from July 23 this year until January 22, 2018, “after careful review of the current conditions in Haiti and conversations with the Haitian government”.
But he has told Haitians under the TPS programme, who don’t have any other immigration status in the US, to be ready to leave then because he does not anticipate any further extensions.
“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,” Kelly said in a statement.
TPS grants short-term work permits and reprieves from deportation to immigrants from nations affected by disaster, epidemics or war. Haitians received that status after the 2010 earthquake and it was renewed as a result of a cholera epidemic and food shortages in the French-speaking Caribbean nation.
Kelly pointed out that Haiti has made progress across several fronts since then.
“The Haitian economy continues to recover and grow, and 96 percent of people displaced by the earthquake and living in internally displaced person camps have left those camps. Even more encouraging is that over 98 percent of these camps have closed. Also indicative of Haiti’s success in recovering from the earthquake seven years ago is the Haitian government’s stated plans to rebuild the Haitian President’s residence at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, and the withdrawal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti,” the US official said.
He also said he was particularly encouraged by representations made to him directly by the Haitian government regarding their desire to welcome the Haitian TPS recipients back home in the near future.
Before the expiration of the six-month extension, Secretary Kelly will re-evaluate the designation for Haiti and decide whether extension, re-designation, or termination is warranted.
However, he said there are indications that Haiti – if its recovery from the 2010 earthquake continues at pace – may not warrant further TPS extension past January next year.