DHS Ends TPS for Haiti

11/22/2017

On Monday, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced the decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status ("TPS") designation for Haitian nationals. In her decision, the Acting Secretary announced a delayed effective date of 18 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation ends on July 22, 2019.

TPS is a program created through the Immigration Act of 1990 that provides relief to people from countries that have been deemed unsafe for various reasons, such as natural disasters and civil war. Individuals receiving TPS are not allowed to be deported, can obtain work authorization, and may receive travel authorization. In 2010, Haiti was added to the list of countries granted TPS due to the damage the nation suffered from the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in January of that year.

In a similar manner to the decision to end the TPS designation for Nicaragua, the decision to end TPS for Haiti was made after the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") reviewed the conditions upon which Haiti's original designation were based and whether those extraordinary conditions prevented Haiti from adequately handling the return of their nationals. DHS determined that the conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist, claiming that the number of displaced people in Haiti has decreased by 97 percent.

In a letter sent to the Acting Secretary on October 26, 2017, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged the extension of the TPS program for Haitians, Hondurans, and Salvadorans, noting the high labor force participation of the TPS population in the United States and warning that "ending the TPS designation for these three countries will exacerbate existing labor shortages in the [construction] industry at a time when such workers are essential to hurricane recovery efforts in states like Texas and Florida."

Furthermore, a study by the NYU School of Law's Global Justice Clinic, also published in October 2017, concluded that Haiti continues to meet the conditions for the TPS designation, citing the impact of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, the nation's housing and infrastructure crisis, and the continued spread of cholera which began during the relief efforts for the 2010 earthquake.

DHS is scheduled to issue a decision on TPS for El Salvador next month. Previously, DHS extended TPS for South Sudan through May 2, 2019 and for Honduras through July 5, 2018, while more information is obtained and assessed.

Our office will continue to monitor developments and provide updates. If you have any questions, please contact your Goel & Anderson attorney.

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