The Trump administration announced on Tuesday plans to end a humanitarian program which allowed nearly 60,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States who were impacted by a devastating earthquake in 2010.
According to the administration, Haitians currently in the U.S. via a Temporary Protected Status will have their protections revoked and be expected to either leave the country by July 2019 or face deportation. They can also apply for a different legal immigration category.
The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement: “Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced people in Haiti has decreased by 97 percent.”
“Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitian citizens, and Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens.”
Haiti was designated a TPS country following an earthquake in 2010 that devastated the already impoverished island nation, killing between 100,000 to 300,000 people.
The move by the Trump administration has already received pushback, including from members of his own party. “I travelled to #Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 and after hurricane Matthew in 2016,” Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) tweeted. “So I can personally attest that #Haiti is not prepared to take back nearly 60,000 #TPS recipients under these difficult and harsh conditions.”
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) echoed Ros-Lehtinen’s concern, tweeting: “There is no reason to send 60,000 Haitians back to a country that cannot provide for them. I am strongly urging the administration to reconsider.”