The Trump Administration Revokes Legal Status for More Than 50,000 Haitian Immigrants

They now have a daunting choice: return home or live undocumented.

Lynne Sladky/AP

The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday evening that more than 50,000 Haitian immigrants living in the United States will lose the status that protects them from deportation. As of July 22, 2019, they’ll  be forced to return to Haiti or risk living in the United States as undocumented immigrants in an era of heightened fear. 

Temporary protected status is granted by DHS to foreign nationals whose home countries are dealing with humanitarian crises such as war or, as in Haiti’s case, a natural disaster. It’s usually renewed in 6 to 18-month intervals. 

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the small Caribbean country in 2010, killing an estimated 300,000 people and leaving millions homeless. President Barack Obama granted the special status to Haitians the following year.

Haitians’ TPS had been continually renewed since then, but in May, then-DHS head and now Trump chief of staff John Kelly announced that their status, which was coming up again for renewal in July, would only be renewed for six months and reevaluated in November.

Earlier this month, DHS terminated TPS for Nicaraguan immigrants, giving the 2,500 TPS holders until January 5, 2019 to leave the country.

Immigration activists and even members of Congress have cautioned the Trump administration against sending Haitian immigrants back. Since the earthquake, Haiti has been dealing with an ongoing cholera epidemic, chronic poverty, and underemployment, exacerbated by the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Matthew which killed hundreds in 2016. Proponents of extending their status also argue that Haitian TPS holders are leading productive lives in the US; according to a study by the Center for Migration Studies, 80 percent are employed, more than 6,000 have a mortgage, and 27,000 of their children are US citizens.

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.