In 2010, the country of Haiti was struck by a massive earthquake that killed at least 300K people and damaged the infrastructure of the country. At that time, former President Barack Obama expanded the Temporary Protected Status for immigration to include Haitians who were affected by the earthquake.
Now, word comes that the administration of President Donald Trump is gathering information about criminal acts committed by Haitians who were allowed into this country. The Associated Press is reporting that emails between government officials and departments have indicated that the Trump administration is looking at ending Temporary Protected Status for Haitian refugees because conditions may have changed and some of these immigrants should be returned to Haiti. In addition, the administration also wants to determine how many refugees are receiving public benefits, since some of the Haitians under the temporary protected status are not eligible for welfare benefits. Approximately 50K refugees were allowed into the United States after the earthquake.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Head of Policy and Strategy Kathy Nuebel Kovarik in repeated emails instructed staff to gather criminal data from government records that would indicate any Haitians that have been arrested and convicted of crimes while in the United States. This move comes as a surprise to some because Trump heavily courted the Haitian community in Florida during the 2016 presidential election. Trump is quoted as stating during this time, “The Haitian-American community adds so much to our country: dedication to family, perseverance, entrepreneurship … creativity, faith.”
However, now the president seems to be targeting an entire ethnic community for possible deportation. When former Pres. Obama extended Temporary Protection Status to Haitians and covered those who had entered the United States before January 12, 2011, either legally or illegally. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director has recommended letting the program expire but giving the Haitians until January 2018 to leave. If they don’t depart by then, they could be deported. A decision is due by May 23 so the government can provide 60 days notice.