Trump Administration Plans To Deport 59,000 Haitians By July 2019
According to The New York Times, Homeland Security announced that the Trump administration is ending a humanitarian program that allowed 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States after the devastation caused by the 2010 earthquake wrecked the island nation.
The program, known as Temporary Protection Status (TPS), will be expected to leave the United States by July 2019 or they will face deportation.
Naturally, the decision left many Haitians in South Florida, New York and elsewhere feeling extremely unsettled and uncertain about their futures. People from other countries, who have been granted Temporary Protection Status, are also wondering about their futures.
According to NYT, about 320,000 people now benefit from the TPS program, which was first signed into law in 1990 by President George Bush. The decision to end the program for Haitians follows one that ended protections for 2,500 Nicaraguans last month.
According to the Times, Haiti relies heavily on money from expatriates, who often send funds back home. The Haitian government has asked the Trump administration to extend the protections.
Gerald Michaud, who works as a wheelchair attendant at LaGuardia, told The Times, that he has been sending money back to his family in Haiti and fears for his welfare and safety in his home country, should he be forced to return.
“The situation is not good in my country,” he said. “I don’t know where I am able to go.”
The Obama administration renewed the protection status several times during his eight years in office, concluding that conditions in Haiti were not yet suitable for the return of nearly 60,000 former residents.
Homeland Security released a statement defending the decision.
“Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced people in Haiti has decreased by 97 percent,” the statement said. “Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitian citizehttps://twitter.com/sydneyareynolds/status/932770331428818944ns, and Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens.”
The decision handed down by Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, will give those protected until July 2019, in order for them to make arrangments.
Since the announcement has been made, several officials and everyday citizens have spoken out. See what they have to say on the following pages.