WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today the Department of Homeland Security announced that it is ending protections for Haitians who sought refuge in the U.S. following Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.
The decision affects more than 58,000 Haitians in the country with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), who now have 18 months to leave the country.
Conditions in Haiti remain poor following the 2010 earthquake and more recent natural disasters, including a cholera epidemic and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. In addition, Haitians have become an important part of the U.S. economy, especially in states such as New York and Florida, where Sen. Marco Rubio urged an extension.
Business and faith leaders are among the groups that also had encouraged an extension. In Florida alone, an estimated $1.2 billion will be lost from state GDP annually without Haitian workers who hold TPS.
Multiple bills providing a more permanent legal status for TPS recipients have been introduced in Congress, including two bipartisan House bills, one by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) and Yvette Clarke (D-New York) and one by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Florida).
“We are disappointed with the administration’s decision tonight. Haitian TPS recipients make crucial contributions to the economic and social vitality of our nation,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “All of this will be gone unless Congress passes legislation to keep these economic contributors in our country.”