U.S. Government Halts Deportations to Haiti Due to Earthquake; South Florida Lawmakers Call for TPS Status
January 14, 2010 By Roque Planas
The Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday that the U.S. would temporarily discontinue deportations to Haiti, due to the destruction caused by the massive earthquake on Tuesday. Roughly 30,000 Haitians currently await deportation in the United States, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
The news has reinvigorated a longstanding effort from Haitian Americans and community leaders in South Florida to secure Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the United States. TPS allows immigrants to remain in the United States if conditions in their country of origin “prevent the country’s nationals from being able to return safely” or the country’s government is unable “to handle their return adequately,” according to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services Web site. Conditions qualifying a country for TPS status include “environmental disaster.”
Current TPS designated countries include El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan.
Cuban American Congress members of South Florida Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have sent a joint letter to Obama asking him to grant TPS to Haitians residing in the U.S., the Miami Herald reports.