US end­ing tem­po­rary per­mits for al­most 60,000 Haitians

Weekend Mirror - - EDITORIAL -

The

Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion said Mon­day it is end­ing a tem­po­rary res­i­dency per­mit pro­gram that has al­lowed al­most 60,000 cit­i­zens from Haiti to live and work in the United States since a 2010 pow­er­ful earth­quake shook the Caribbean na­tion.

The Home­land Se­cu­rity Depart­ment said con­di­tions in Haiti have im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly, so the ben­e­fit will be ex­tended one last time — un­til July 2019 — to give Haitians time to prepare to re­turn home.

"Since the 2010 earth­quake, the num­ber of dis­placed peo­ple in Haiti has de­creased by 97 per­cent," the depart­ment said in a press re­lease. "Haiti is able to safely re­ceive tra­di­tional lev­els of re­turned cit­i­zens."

Ad­vo­cates and mem­bers of Congress from both par­ties had asked the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion for an 18-month ex­ten­sion of the pro­gram, known as Tem­po­rary Pro­tected Sta­tus. Haitian Pres­i­dent Jovenel Moise's govern­ment also re­quested the ex­ten­sion.

Rony Pon­thieux, a 49-year-old Haitian nurse with tem­po­rary res­i­dency who has lived in Mi­ami since 1999, told The As­so­ci­ated Press, "This isn't over, this is time we get to fight for re­newal, not to pack our bags." She has a daugh­ter and a son born in the United States and another son in Port-auPrince.

"We need to push Wash­ing­ton to pro­vide a le­gal sta­tus for us with TPS," Pon­thieux said. "This is anti-im­mi­grant pol­icy."

Ad­vo­cates for Haitians quickly crit­i­cized the de­ci­sion, ar­gu­ing the con­di­tions in the is­land na­tion haven't im­proved nearly enough for Haitians to be de­ported.

Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Repub­li­can, ex­pressed "strong op­po­si­tion" to the mea­sure and urged the ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­con­sider.

"Forc­ing them to leave the United States would be detri­men­tal," he said in a press re­lease. "Al­most eight years later, Haiti re­mains in to­tal dis­ar­ray and still re- quires much re­build­ing."

Amanda Baran, pol­icy con­sul­tant at the Im­mi­grant Le­gal Re­source Cen­ter, called the ter­mi­na­tion of the sta­tus a "heart­less de­ci­sion" and said the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has no plan in place for the U.S.-born chil­dren who may now lose their Haitian par­ents and care­givers to de­por­ta­tion.

While Haiti has made ad­vances spurred by in­ter­na­tional aid since the quake, the Caribbean na­tion re­mains one of the poor­est in the world. More than 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple, roughly a quar­ter of the pop­u­la­tion, live on less than $1.23 a day, which au­thor­i­ties there consider ex­treme poverty.

The United Na­tions last month ended a peace­keep­ing mis­sion in Haiti that, at its peak, in­cluded more than 10,000 troops. Its new mis­sion is com­prised of about 1,300 in­ter­na­tional civil­ian po­lice of­fi­cers and 350 civil­ians who will help the coun­try try to re­form a deeply trou­bled jus­tice sys­tem. (AP)

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