Temporary Protected Status for Illegal Haitians

Posted in Temporary Protected Status at 8:22 pm by Lalita Haran

Haiti was struck by a powerful earthquake on January 12, 2010. On January 21, 2010, U.S. authorized for those Haitians and its nationals who were present in U.S. on the day of the disaster, a Temporary Protected Status.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a form of relief under the U.S. immigration policy that offers temporary refuge to the nationals of countries suffering from a crisis, until situation improves in the home country. However, TPS is a temporary relief and may be lifted when the country conditions improve. Any stay beyond the authorized period then becomes unlawful. In sum, TPS provides lawful stay for a limited period and also employment authorization.

In the aftermath of the extremely powerful earthquake that measured 7.0, at least a third of nation’s population is reported to have been affected. The U.S. government immediately declared its intention to stop deportation/removal to Haiti until the situation improves. In addition, the recent government notification offered lawful status and employment authorization to Haitians already present in U.S. on the day the disaster occurred in Haiti.

This however, leaves out those Haitians who were in Haiti on 1/12/10, i.e. the real victims of the natural disaster. Increased security along the U.S. coast near Haiti is suggestive of the fact as also the U.S. government advice to Haitians not to leave for U.S. in the hope of getting TPS.

The present TPS does not protect the victims from the disaster. In my opinion, it is nothing more than an attempt not to increase the number of earthquake victims. The government effort is commendable nonetheless in that it stops the return of the unlawfully present Haitians to suffer the aftermath of the natural disaster and, albeit temporarily, also facilitates them by legalizing their presence.

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