The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti as of July 22, 2019. Haitians with TPS will be required to reapply for EADs in order to legally work in the United States.
Temporary protected status is offered to legal US residents and undocumented immigrants when war, natural disaster or other “extraordinary” conditions temporarily make return to their native country unsafe. The foreign nationals can obtain employment authorization, but TPS status does not “lead to lawful, permanent resident status.” Foreign nationals from 10 nations legally reside in TPS status in the US and these countries are El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Nepal and Yemen. Nicaragua’s TPS designation will terminate in 2019 and DHS is expected to make a decision on El Salvador’s TPS fate next month.
Haiti was originally granted TPS designation because of the devastating earthquake that struck it in 2010. Haiti was already the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation in 2010 and the earthquake killed more than 200,000, left hundreds of thousands homeless and decimated most of the island’s infrastructure. In its recent decision, DHS determined that the extraordinary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist and that under the applicable statute TPS designation must be terminated. However, a variety of American groups, including the Congressional Black Caucus and the US Chamber of Commerce decry the termination, stating that Haiti is still in dire straits and cannot adequately handle the safe return of their nationals and that the approximate 60,000 Haitians who are in the US pursuant to TPS status are working, paying their taxes, sending needed money home to Haiti and have raised families in the US.
Almost 30,000 children have been born in the US to Haitian TPS holders. These children are US citizen and entitled to remain in the US. Their parents face a heart-wrenching decision: take their children back to the Haiti, leave them with relatives or guardian in the US or remain in the country illegally and risk deportation. Some of the parents may qualify for cancellation of removal if they can show extreme hardship to a US born child.