Pressure has been mounting for weeks as the Haitian community awaited a decision by the Trump Administration to extend the Temporary Protected Status program. This morning we learned that the program has been extended for six months, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) said.
Wilson told the Miami Herald that she was informed of the decision Monday morning after receiving a phone call from the Department of Homeland Security. Her office was in the midst of a Twitter storm pushing to renew the program. Wilson, with other Democratic and Republican lawmakers plus Haitian and immigration advocates, had been fighting for an 18-month extension. The acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had recommended six months extension, with termination of the program in January. Wilson said she is extending a personal invitation to DHS Secretary John Kelly to travel with her to Haiti in the coming months so that he can see in person why sending 58,000 Haitians back is “unconscionable.” – Miami Herald
The program, which grants work permits and legal residency, was in limbo unless it was renewed by the Trump administration. The decision to extend the program was in the hands of John F. Kelly, Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security. Earlier this year, he requested an analysis of the criminal history of Haitians living in the U.S.
Former President Barack Obama allowed the TPS to protect Haitians in the U.S. after the 2010 earthquake. Immigration authorities have extended the program three times since.
The Department of Homeland Security determines which countries receive TPS designations and when a country has progressed enough to be removed from the program. Haiti will reach the end of its current 18-month term in July. If its designation is not extended, some 50,000 people will be forced out.
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