The Migration Policy Institute estimates that 24,000 Haitian nationals
But despite the still-dire conditions on Hispaniola's western half, the Trump administration yesterday announced its final decision on whether to extend TPS for the 60,000 Haitian nationals living under the program for a few more years — and the news isn't good for those in Miami. Yesterday the administration said it is extending TPS one last time, until July 2019, and then afterward, every Haitian living in the United States with TPS status must leave. They have 18 months to p
The decision is a major blow to Miami, which contains the largest Haitian diaspora in America. Nearly half the 59,000 Haitian TPS recipients have settled in the Magic City.
"Thousands of Haitian TPS recipients have been living in the U.S. for an average of seven to 25 years," Marleine Bastien, director of Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, a Miami-based immigration rights group, told New Times last month, as the Department of Homeland Security debated whether to continue allowing TPS. "To deport them and force them to leave behind their U.S.-born children will be a catastrophe of great magnitude."
In October, Miami-Dade County officials passed a resolution asking the Trump administration to extend the program. The measure noted that Haiti had been walloped by the earthquake, the
Miami-Dade's government noted Trump himself once promised to help the Haitian people any way he could.
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"President Donald Trump recognized the devastation Haiti faced even before the additional damaging effects of Hurricane Matthew, acknowledging the turmoil,
There is no reason to send 60,000 Haitians back to a country that cannot provide for them. This decision today by DHS is unconscionable. And I am strongly urging the administration to reconsider. Ultimately, we need a permanent legislative solution. https://t.co/Ft0bE0itf6— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) November 21, 2017
On November 6, the Trump administration announced it was ending TPS status for Nicaraguan nationals too; 2,400 people would have to leave the country within 14 months. Homeland Security is still debating what to do with the 57,000 Hondurans living here on TPS status, but signs don't look good that they'll receive an extension. Immigration experts warn that massive numbers of people returning to poorly run nations, especially Haiti and Honduras, could set off violence and disaster.
Even the most ardent advocates of TPS, however, are aware the program was never supposed to be a permanent immigration fix. Miami's Haitian community now has no choice but to continue lobbying D.C. to pass a permanent solution. One bill, called the Aspire Act, has already been introduced; it would grant permanent residency to any person who held TPS status as of January 1, 2017. Whether Congress can agree to pass the legislation is anyone's guess.