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Temporary Protection Status for Haitians Goes Far Beyond ‘Temporary’

Haitians who were granted temporary residency within the United States in 2010 are being told that they will need to return to their own country shortly.

The Department of Homeland Security (HHS) announced Monday that Haiti has recovered significantly from the earthquake that struck there in 2010 to allow those to return home.

More than 60,000 Haitians have been living in the U.S. since 2010 and departing from the U.S. will no doubt be difficult for them especially since Obama renewed their temporary status every time it ran out.

Earlier this year in May, Haitians protested, demanding that the temporary protected status be renewed once again.

Advocates for the Haitians argue that conditions in Haiti haven’t improved sufficiently enough for them to go back.

Advocates, members of Congress from both parties and even the Haitian President asked the Trump administration for an 18-month extension.

Instead of ending the program on November 20, 2017 as HHS indicated in May they would do, it has decided to give the Haitians until July 2019 to prepare for their return home.

Haiti remains one of the poorest nations in the world. It is estimated that more than 2.5 million people which is about a quarter of the population, survive on less than $1.23 a day.

Haiti has had seven years to improve the conditions of its country.

Perhaps the reality is that the country will never be able to improve its living conditions much beyond its current state.

And to make matters more difficult, most people who are removed from such a poor environment and placed in one of the richest countries in the world, would understandably not choose to return to the stark realities of their previous life.

That is why many Haitians, fearing they will be told to leave the U.S., have been making their way to Canada.

Worried about Haitians attempting to cross into Canada illegally, Canada asked the Trump administration for a heads up if it decided to end the temporary protection status.

However, rumors quickly spread in Haitian newspapers that Canada would be accepting one million immigrants in 2017, implying that Canada would welcome Haitians from America.

Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg who is also Haitian and lives in Canada says he hopes to get the word out that Canada shouldn’t be the “default option” for Haitians looking to leave America and avoid returning to their native homeland.

Temporary status in the U.S. currently covers approximately 435,000 from nine countries who were sent to the U.S. due to natural disasters or war.

Obviously, the term “temporary” has a different meaning to the U.S. government.

Many would argue that seven years is too long for the U.S. to provide “temporary” relief. An additional 18 months will extend the Haitians stay in the U.S. to almost 10 years.

The temporary federal program needs to be reexamined in order to arrive at a specific cut-off date for all future temporary protected status designations.

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