Victory! The Obama Administration has granted Temporary Protected Status to all Haitians who were residing in the United States as of January 12, 2010. The TPS designation would allow Haitians in the United States to live and work here for 18 months and may come with extensions as DHS continues to monitor the situation.
Update: We STILL need to get out Haitians in detention, including immigrant rights leader Jean Montrevil. Please step up calls for him and other Haitian detainees.
In the meantime, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano estimates that anywhere between 100,000 to 200,000 Haitians would benefit from this program.
Hundreds of immigration groups called, emailed and lobbied for the program in the aftermath of the disaster.
Allowing Haitians to stay on Temporary Protection Status here helps them work and send money back to relatives in Haiti to assist in the recovery of the country. Those with final removal orders may also be eligible.
Thus far, the United States, Canada and France halted deportations of undocumented Haitian immigrants from their countries. I also hope that other countries are receptive to taking refugees from Haiti. Canada is rumored to announce a fast-track program soon to take in refugees.
Haitians in the U.S. who are eligible to apply for TPS should go to http://www.uscis.gov/ or call USCIS toll-free at (800) 375-5283.
Photo Credit: United Nations