Haiti Post-Earthquake & Status Of Haitians In The US
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Politics and Activism

Haitians Post-Earthquake And What You Should Know About Their Status In The United States

Why Trump is trying to deport Haitians seeking relief and why the legal community will not let this happen.

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Haitians Post-Earthquake And What You Should Know About Their Status In The United States

Temporary Protected Status, established by the United States Congress in 1990, is designated by the United States Department of Homeland Security in cases where citizens of a country are unable to live or return safely to their country of origin or if the country in question is incapable of receiving its nationals . This could be due to armed conflicts, environmental disasters, epidemics, or other "extraordinary" conditions (Danticat, 1). When Temporary Protected Status is provided it is granted for eighteen months at a time and can be renewed by the Department of Homeland Security, sometimes in conference with the State Department and the Secretary of State (Danticat, 2). One very important aspect of Temporary Protected Status to note is that it does not offer a path to citizenship even while it allows one to apply for a work permit and driver's license and protects the individual from deportation (Danticat, 3).

In the case of Haiti, Temporary Protected Status was granted after the 2010 7.1 magnitude earthquake which killed 300,000 and left over 1 million homeless. After the earthquake Haitian advocates, many Miami-based, appealed to the United States government and Temporary Protected Status was granted 9 days after the Earthquake (Danticat,3). Subsequent reasons as to why the Status was renewed included the outbreak of Cholera introduced by Nepalese United Nations Peacekeepers that killed 9,000 and infected 800,000, as well as the inability for Haiti to receive its nationals due to the damage done to infrastructure, and therefore the economy (Danticat, 3).

The Department of Homeland Security in late 2017 and early 2018 announced that they planned to terminate the Temporary Protective Statuses of Haiti, Sudan, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, citing that the conditions that caused migrants to flee no longer existed (Flynn, 3). The Status of Haiti was up for renewal in 2019 and many advocacy groups protested for its reissuing claiming that it would surely destroy the lives of the thousands of Haitians who reside within the United States who have Temporary Protected Status (Vassolo, 2). Besides that, it was argued that the evidence regarding the current economic and structural situation in Haiti was completely unprepared for a large influx of returning citizens (Flynn 3). However, U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen blocked the motion in the deciding case of Crista Ramos v Kirstjen Nielsen affecting all four countries by asserting that the potential harm to the returning immigrants- "returning to their countries of origin after spending years in the United States- outweighed any harm to the [United States] government" (Flynn, 1). Chen found that the order was not in line with the Constitution, specifically that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act as the decision was not made with "reasoned judgment and evidence" (Flynn,3). He felt that the order was racially, nationalistically, and ethnically motivated and cited several tweets and public statements given by President Trump to support his assertion. Trump consistently has tweeted America-First policies on his twitter account and has referred to South Americans generally as "drug dealers", "rapists", and "criminals". In addition, he has referred to Haiti and African nations as "shit-hole countries" (Vitali, 1). This apparent bias influenced Chen's decision in ruling against the Trump administration.

As I have previously mentioned there are several other countries besides Haiti who currently have Temporary Protected Status. These include El Salvador, Guinea, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen, and Syria. Along with Haiti, the statuses of Sudan, Nicaragua, and El Salvador were renewed after being contested in the past year (Flynn). All meet the requirement of having unsuitable conditions for their citizens to return at the present moment and were seemingly almost sent back due to fervent nationalism. For now, thanks to Judge Chen, all of these nations retain their Temporary Protective Status.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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