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TPS Extension for Haitians Offers Short-Term Relief
WASHINGTON—Today, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly announced a six-month extension of temporary protected status (TPS) for Haitians. DHS has not guaranteed it will continue TPS for Haitians after January 22, 2018. Secretary Kelly had the option to terminate TPS or extend it for an amount of time up to 18 months, which was the period of the previous extension.
“Secretary Kelly made the right decision to extend TPS,” said Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ vice president for policy and advocacy. “Haiti is currently in no position to reintegrate the more than 50,000 TPS-holders living in the United States. In the seven years since the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that was the basis for TPS, Haiti’s recovery has been undermined by drought, prolonged economic instability, public health crises, and natural disasters.
“For the time being, this is a welcome development for the Haitian TPS-holders who have become our neighbors, classmates, colleagues and friends, and all those who stood up to support their right to live in safety. We remain deeply concerned about conditions in Haiti. For the thousands of Haitians who have been living and working in the United States for the past seven years—many of whom have children who are U.S citizens—DHS has not provided any level of certainty as to whether their situation will be reconsidered in six months. Failing to extend TPS for Haitians beyond January will have grave consequences for communities in the U.S. as well as communities in Haiti.”
Last week, HIAS led a group of 35 humanitarian, international development, and human rights organizations in a letter urging DHS to extend TPS. The letter said that ending TPS would mean “sending [Haitians] back to entirely avoidable risks of poverty, illness, and malnutrition, and would risk destabilizing an already fragile recovery