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  • Edición impresa de Diciembre 5, 2017.

NBC: No Longer Protected: Immigrants Pushed to Return to Disaster-Stricken Countries

Washington, D.C. – In a comprehensive piece, Katie Warren for NBC lays out how activists and politicians interpret country-specific decisions on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as feeding a larger beast: broad anti-immigrant ideology within the Trump Administration.

For example, Royce Murray, policy director at the American Immigration Council, said of the decision on Haiti, “Each TPS decision has to be considered on its own merits, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that this is the third TPS designation terminated in the last three months. The department must consult with other government agencies to decide whether a country’s conditions still merit temporary protected status...That process certainly failed Haiti this time.”

The Trump administration’s recent decisions to end temporary protections for immigrants from countries struck by disaster have ignited a fiery debate over whether families are being forced to return to places unprepared to absorb them to meet hard-line immigration promises. 

The Department of Homeland Security says that immigrants from countries such as Haiti and Nicaragua no longer need temporary protected status, which offers giving work opportunities and deportation relief, but activists and politicians blast the decisions as part of a broader anti-immigrant ideology within the Trump administration.

«These decisions are guided not by the law or sound analysis of the need for these programs to continue, but by hate-fueled politics and a desire to deport as many immigrants as possible,» Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center, said in a statement.

With the recent terminations together with the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Trump administration has taken lawful status from nearly one million people, she said.

On Nov. 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ended protections for nearly 60,000 Haitians who sought refuge in the U.S. after a 2010 earthquake devastated the island.

They are among more than 320,000 people from 10 nations, primarily Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras, who have had temporary refuge and work allowance in the U.S. because of conflict, natural disaster or other extreme conditions in their countries. Other countries currently under temporary protected status, which is often renewed several times but must eventually expire, include Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Over the past few months, the department has announced the end of temporary protected status for Nicaragua and Sudan, and it›s expected to make a decision on Honduras in July.

 The Western Hemisphere›s poorest country with nearly 60 percent of the population living under the poverty line, Haiti is heavily reliant on Haitians working abroad. Money sent home by Haitians living elsewhere accounts for more than a quarter of Haiti’s gross domestic product.

The island nation is also at a very high risk for major infectious diseases, including Zika virus, hepatitis A and E and typhoid fever, according to the CIA World Factbook.  

Many Haitian families in the U.S. are now living in limbo, unsure whether they may be separated in the near future.

Of the 59,000 Haitians who were granted TPS after a massive 2010 earthquake killed hundreds of thousands of residents of the island nation, 9,700 of them have been granted permanent resident status, leaving the tens of thousands remaining with the options of leaving the U.S. by July of 2019, trying to change their immigration status or staying in the country as undocumented workers and facing deportation.  

Haitians with protected status have an estimated 27,000 U.S.-born children, according to the Center for American Progress. Another 246,200 American children have parents who are TPS holders from El Salvador and Honduras.

«They’re going to have to decide between going to Haiti, a country they don’t know just to be with their mom or dad, or saying goodbye to pursue their birthright as Americans to grow up here,» Forester said. 

Frank Sharry / America’s Voice Education Fund 

 

 

 

 


 

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