Image from Sinembargo
On Tuesday, the U.S. government announced the end of Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Haitians. The 58,706 Haitians currently protected under TPS have been given 18 months to return to their country or seek an alternative emigration plan.
The government expects TPS holders to “prepare for their exit or ask for an alternative migratory status” and for the Haitian government to prepare, with the assistance of U.S. agencies, “for the return and reintegration of its citizens.”
The TPS is an immigration program created in 1990 that grants a specific status to people from countries affected by armed conflicts or natural disasters. In recent years, migratory permits were renewed automatically for periods of 18 months, but Trump decided to reevaluate the conditions that justified the continuation of the program.
Thousands of inhabitants of the Caribbean country have emigrated as a result of numerous catastrophic situations, most notably the 2010 earthquake that killed over 300 thousand people.
The decision of the Trump government comes just two weeks after it put an end to the TPS for Nicaragua. There are currently 5,349 Nicaraguan immigrants living in the United States with protected status. Under the new order, they have been given 12 months to prepare for their departure which must occur before January 5, 2019.
The U.S. government assured people that “the extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the earthquake of 2010 no longer exist” and added that “Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced persons in Haiti has fallen by 97%. Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life of Haitians, and Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens.”
The truth is that Haiti, one of the poorest countries on the planet, has not at all managed to recover from the brutal earthquake and continues to suffer outbreaks of disease, such as cholera, due to the lack of decent living conditions. There have also been numerous reports of rapes, assaults, and other human rights violations committed by the MINUSTAH (United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti) since their installment in 2004.
Trump’s decision is part of the increase in draconian measures against immigrants. With the recent announcement of the cancellation of DACA, the program that has provided temporary residency status to nearly 800,000 undocumented youths who were brought by their parents to the United States when they were children, and now the refusal to extend TPS, thousands of immigrants are faced with the fear of deportation.
It is time that we step up the fight in supporting all immigrants and demand full citizenship for all and an end to deportations.