Haitians in U.S. malign Trump decision to send them back home

Haitians in U.S. malign Trump decision to send them back home
From Reuters - November 21, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Haitian immigrants on Tuesday decried a U.S. decision to end a program that granted 59,000 Haitians temporary visas after the 2010 earthquake, saying they would be sent back to a country that has yet to recover from that disaster and others since.

The United States offered Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, to Haitians after the January 2010 earthquake killed some 300,000 people and devastated a country that has long been the poorest in the Americas.

The administration of former President Barack Obamaextended the program several times, finding that conditions in Haiti were too dire to send the beneficiaries home. President Donald Trumps administration, after previously granting a six-month extension, announced on Monday that it would end TPS for Haiti in July 2019.

Any Haitian who cannot obtain another kind of U.S. visa will be subject to deportation back to the Caribbean nation, where some earthquake victims are still homeless and the country is wobbling from Hurricane Matthew, a cholera outbreak and political instability.

Were just left in a void, said Sebastian Joseph, 26, a Haitian immigrant living in the Flatbush section of Brooklynwhere Haitians and other Caribbeans are concentrated.

He said virtually all Haitians want to stay in the United States, where they have carved out a niche in construction and healthcare services such as caring for the elderly and sick.

America has been the home of the free for 200 years or more. Everybody wants to come to America, Joseph said. A lot of people will go back to nothing.

Trumps supporters note that the visa program was always meant to be temporary and that Trump ran a 2016 presidential campaign promising restrictive immigration policies.

At least one Haitian TPS recipient in Brooklyn accepted that eventually she must return.

If they say I have 18 months and thats it, I say thank God, and then I will go, said Margaret Etienne, who gave birth to a 3-year-old son here who is now a U.S. citizen.

Its my country. I love my country, she said after buying takeout from a Haitian restaurant with her son on a stretch of Church Avenue that is also called Bob Marley Boulevard, after the late Jamaican musician.


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