Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haitian Immigrants get Reprieve

The Haitian earthquake has caused ICE to develop a little empathy. Traditionally, the U.S. has always been hostile to Haitian immigrants.

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Haitians already in U.S. get a temporary reprieve

The Obama administration said Friday it would grant tens of thousands of undocumented Haitian nationals in the United States Temporary Protected Status, an immigration benefit sought for years by Haitian activists, immigrant rights advocates and South Florida lawmakers.

In announcing the move only days after Haiti's devastating earthquake, Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement that the TPS designation was part of the administration's effort to support Haiti's recovery following ``a disaster of historic proportions.''

But she also made a point to discourage Haitians from leaving the country -- a sign the administration would crack down on illegal immigration.

``At this moment of tragedy in Haiti, it is tempting for people suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake to seek refuge elsewhere. But attempting to leave Haiti now will only bring more hardship to the Haitian people and nation,'' she said.


TPS will enable about 30,000 Haitians without legal immigration status, most in South Florida, to remain here legally for 18 months. They would also be able to apply for work permits, allowing them to land jobs many need to send money to surviving family members in earthquake-devastated Port-au-Prince.

Only those Haitians in the United States as of Jan. 12 are eligible. Those arriving after Jan. 12 will be repatriated to Haiti. Although shielded from deportation, Haitian TPS holders cannot become permanent U.S. residents or U.S. citizens. Earlier this week, the administration temporarily halted deportations of Haitian to complete MH article

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