Yesterday, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Elaine Duke announced that the Trump Administration will terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in 18 months. Haitians with TPS who are unable to change their status to another lawful status will no longer be shielded from deportation and will lose their employment authorizations on July 22, 2019. Haiti is the third country to lose its protected status under the Trump Administration; on July 5, 2018, the Trump Administration will terminate TPS for Nicaraguans and on November 2, 2018, TPS will terminate for Sudanese nationals.
This decision follows DHS-Secretary Kelly indication in May 2017 that the Trump Administration believed that Haiti had made “considerable progress” following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the island, killing 230,000 residents and displacing nearly 3 million, and that therefore, the country’s designation would likely not be extended past six months. However, Haiti continues to suffer from a cholera outbreak and damage from Hurricane Matthew.
Numerous lawmakers have called on the Trump Administration to extend TPS for Haiti. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called for TPS renewal for the Haitians, writing that those “sent home will face dire conditions, including lack of housing, inadequate health services and low prospects for employment. . . . Failure to renew the TPS designation will weaken Haiti’s economy and impede its ability to recover completely and improve its security.” Senator Rubio also spoke to the benefits his state of Florida receives from Haitian TPS holders, as well as the benefits to Haiti, where “personal contributions from the Haitian community in the U.S. make up nearly 25 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product.”
What is Temporary Protected Status?
TPS is a type of temporary protection given to individuals who are already present in the U.S. and who are from countries experiencing issues that make it unsafe for them to return. TPS permits individuals to remain in the U.S. temporarily, work in the U.S., and sometimes, to travel abroad during their TPS status. Individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country may also apply. Issues that may cause DHS to designate a country as TPS eligible include:
- Ongoing armed conflict (e.g. civil war);
- An environmental disaster (e.g. earthquake, flood, or hurricane) or epidemic (e.g. Ebola); or
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions.If DHS finds that one of these conditions applies, it may designate the country for TPS so that its nationals within the U.S. can apply for it. If approved, those individuals will not be deported and can apply for work authorization for the duration of their TPS approval. See our blog for more basic information on TPS. You can check the DHS website for the status of other countries’ TPS designations.What can I do?
- If you or a loved one have TPS, or have questions and would like more detail, please contact our office.
- Many individuals who have TPS may be eligible for another kind of immigration benefit and should consult with an immigration attorney. Additionally, individuals who have TPS may have a prior order of removal, or may have been in proceedings in immigration court when their TPS was granted, and as a result, had their court case administratively closed. These individuals will now be at risk of having their prior removal (deportation) order reinstated (i.e. removed from the U.S.) or have their cases put back on an active docket in immigration court. You can read our blog about prior orders of removal or contact one of our attorneys.