Haitians directed to leave US within 18 months

Thousands of Haitians fled to the United StatesDays after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated in the country in January 2010. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team United States Nov 21, 2017, 02.43 AM (IST)

Around 59,000 Haitians, living under the Temporary Residency Permit, have been directed to leave the United States within 18 months, the Trump administration announced on Monday. 

The decision was taken by the Homeland Security Department, after stating that the 'extraordinary conditions' in Haiti have improved to a large extent, giving them until July 2019 to prepare their return, following the 2010 earthquake which leads severe damage in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, reported by The Washington Post. 

The Haitian government officials had permitted the individuals to remain in the US due to the poor economic and political conditions and well as the widespread cholera epidemic. Moreover, damages caused by three hurricanes since 2016 exacerbate the difficulty of returning Haitians.
However, Trump administration officials have stated that the permit was temporary and by no means a way for people to become long-term residents. 

Last month, the United Nations closed a peacekeeping mission in Haiti which included over 10,000 troops. The new mission will consist of around 1,300 international officers and 350 civilians who will help reform the current conditions in the country, reports said.

The Homeland Security Department announced the decision 60 days before the current TPS expires. The agency, in May, had extended the program for just six months instead of eighteen and demanded Haitians to prepare to go home. 

“Haiti is not ready to take 58,000,” said Marleine Bastien, a South Florida Haitian activist who had requested for at least an 18-month extension of TPS. “It’s going to be tough for the families in the US and a disaster for Haiti. It is clear that they are making decisions on the basis of politics and not considering the facts. This is purely unacceptable.” as reported by Miami Herald.

Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said that the decisions were 'unacceptable' and pushed the administration to rethink the decision. While members of Congress from South Florida acted in alarm. 

The temporary status covers around 435,000 people from nine countries who fled to the US, legally or otherwise, after being hit by powerful natural disasters. 

Since taking office, Trump has directed to end the temporary permit program for Sudan and Nicaragua and has also claimed to take a decision on 86,000 Honduras, living in the country, until July 2018.

Days after the Haiti earthquake, former President Barack Obama had granted an eighteen-month protection status for the citizens of Haiti and renewed it everytime it expired.