President Donald Trump was greeted by hundreds of protesters seeking protection of the immigration rights of Haitian workers upon his recent visit to Mar-A-Lago. According to the Orlando Weekly, Orlando workers filled buses and rode for three hours to Palm Beach to get their message across to the president. The reason for the protests was the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haitians. TPS allowed Haitians to live and work in the United States after the island was devastated in 2010 by a massive earthquake that left over a million homeless and thousands dead. The ending of the TPS program affects nearly 60,000 Haitians.
Haitians Facing Deportation
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that Haitian TPS recipients will be given just 18 months to leave their homes in the United States. Failure to do so will result in deportation beginning July 22, 2019. Part of the reasoning for ending the Haitian TPS program, according to DHS Secretary Elaine Duke, is that since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced Haitians on the island has decreased by 97%.
The immigration protections for Haitians is not the only program that is on the Trump administration’s chopping block; DHS also decided in November to end similar immigration protections, the changes which are planned to go into effect in January 2019, for about 2,000 Nicaraguans. Other countries in addition to Haiti and Nicaragua that are currently designated for TPS include: El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Previously, Libya, Guinea, and Sierra Leone were part of the list of countries designated for TPS but are no longer part of the list.
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Worried Haitians Should Start Planning
Although Haiti is still struggling to recover from the 2010 earthquake, a deadly cholera epidemic and last year’s hurricane, mean that individuals covered under TPS should start planning to leave now, before the July 22, 2019 deadline arrives. Under the USCIS’s recommendation, TPS holders have up to six months after the July 22 deadline to maintain employment before they will be at risk of deportation to Haiti. For this reason, migrants should seek advice from an immigration attorney now.
It is important to note that some TPS holders may be eligible for a United States green card. Two ways to become eligible for a green card is if the person is married to an American citizen or if he or she has a child over the age of 21 who is an American citizen. Many Haitian migrants who benefit from the TPS program, however, do not know this, or lack the appropriate documentation as to how they were admitted into the United States, according to a Miami Herald report.
In order to successfully obtain a green card, the applicant must be able to prove that he or she was either inspected, admitted, or paroled into the U.S. Most TPS holders lack this proof, but the program allows them to travel with U.S. government permission by allowing those without an entry or parole stamp in their passports to get one.
Florida Immigration Help
If you or someone you love has Temporary Protected Status (TPS), contact any one of our offices to schedule a one-on-one meeting with our immigration attorneys to review your immigration history and options. The immigration attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns, P.A. have represented immigrants across the state of Florida for over 35 years. Schedule a consultation and learn more about your rights and options under current immigration law.