By now, we’re all familiar with how the Trump administration feels about immigration. But soon, they’ll have to deal with another immigration issue, and no, we’re not talking about the infamous wall he wants to build on the border of Mexico and the United States.
After the devastating 2010 earthquake that ravaged Haiti and killed 300,000 people displacing more than 1.5 million, the Obama administration gave 50,000 Haitians living in the U.S. temporary protected status.
What Temporary Protected Status does is allow Haitians to stay in the U.S. until conditions in their homeland improve. This is an 18-month protective immigration designation which was renewed three times by the Obama administration. The current Temporary Protected Status will expire on July 22 and the fate of 50,000 Haitians rests in the hands of Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly.
In April, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director, James McCament, recommended that Secretary Kelly not renew the designation because conditions in Haiti had improved. However, this past December, the USCIS’s report on the conditions of the country said they were experiencing housing shortages, a cholera epidemic, limited medical care, economic concerns, food insecurity and security threats.
It should be noted that while President Trump was on the campaign trail, he visited Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood and said, “The Haitian people deserve better and that’s what I intend to give them. I will give them better.”
Taking matters into their own hands, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary Kelly in March urging an extension of the Temporary Protected Status.
Leon Rodriguez, who is McCament’s predecessor told NBC News it’s mostly in the best interest of the U.S. to protect refugees.
“This is very much in line with what I think is on the whole, this administration has put forth a very restrictive view of immigration and certainly rolling back a (Temporary Protected Status) would be in line with that,” said Rodriguez.
“I think the persistence of displaced populations for long periods of time has serious global security implications. History has shown that over and over and over again.”
Haiti is among thirteen countries with Temporary Protected Status and they’ll all be waiting Secretary Kelly’s decision.