USA and the UK
Haitians living in the US given temporary protection
The US government has announced that some 150,000 Haitian nationals who are resident in the US will be eligible to continue to stay in the country for at least 18 months.
The permission, known as temporary protected status, is granted to nationals of a country that is experiencing a significant humanitarian crisis.
Haitian nationals will be invited to apply for the protection which will ensure they will not face deportation and can instead work and live temporarily in the United States.
The decision was made based on the “serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources” that currently exists in Haiti, according to the Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas.
Haiti is experiencing political instability under the disputed control of President Jovenel Moïse. Rival gangs have been said to control parts of the capital of Port-au-Prince and kidnappings for ransom have increased in recent months.
It is believed that the government is becoming more authoritarian and there is evidence it has used force against its citizens when protesting.
In response to the announcement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the news was welcome and reiterated the need for greater immigration reforms to allow undocumented residents the opportunity to apply for US citizenship:
“It is imperative that the Dream and Promise Act, passed by the House, is enacted, so that we can provide a path to permanent residence and eventual citizenship to TPS holders.”
Giving security to Haitian individuals and families in the US
The move has been welcomed by human rights and undocumented migrant advocacy groups. Under the Title 42 policy, people seeking asylum have been forcibly returned without the opportunity to ask for protection.
The temporary protected status (TPS) used in this instance was first established in the 1990s as a form of temporary humanitarian aid to allow undocumented individuals to stay in the United States when it is deemed unsafe to return to their home country.
The status allows temporary residence, without the threat of deportation, and also enables individuals to hold work permits and legally work. Only people living in the US as of 21 May 2021 will be eligible to hold the protection. Holders of TPS may be eligible for travel authorization.
President Obama granted a number of TPS to Haitian citizens in the wake of the 2010 earthquake that killed over 200,000 people and significantly disrupted the country’s development.
The protection was renewed a number of times since 2010 but the Trump administration announced it would not renew it in 2017. However, a number of court challenges have held up efforts to remove it.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair, Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) stated that this was a positive step:
“All one needs to do is take a look at the conditions on the ground in Haiti to understand why today’s announcement to issue a new TPS designation will avoid destabilizing the island’s fragile recovery efforts and keep approximately 150,000 individuals from harm’s way.”
Who is eligible for temporary protected status (TPS) in the US?
TPS is granted by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to eligible individuals who have filed for status during a specific registration period and fulfil the residence requirements.
The TPS designation may be granted based on ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster or epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary situation.
Currently, over 400,000 foreign nationals hold temporary protected status. Some of the eligible nationalities apart from Haiti include Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal and Syria.
It was estimated the TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti contribute a combined $4.5 billion to US GDP in gross income. Further, a 2017 survey found that 88.5% of TPS holders from El Salvador and Honduras were in employment.
Yet despite this, there is currently no pathway to US citizenship for those holding TPS.
How can IAS help me?
Our expert immigration lawyers are experienced in all areas of immigration law. Whether you need support with making a US citizenship application, a work visa, or a family visa, we look forward to assisting with your case.
If you need assistance with your immigration case, you can get in touch with us via the online contact form. Alternatively, you may call our friendly advisors for a confidential discussion on +1844 290 6312.
Last modified on May 24th, 2021 at 6:44 am
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