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.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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