In an act of politically-motivated heartlessness, the Trump administration has just announced a final termination date for Haitian Temporary Protected Status (TPS). 59,000 Haitians who have lived here legally since an earthquake killed 300,000 people in their homeland will see their status terminate on July 22, 2019. The announcement comes just two weeks after Acting Secretary of Homeland Security announced the end of TPS for Nicaraguans.
According to the Center for Migration Studies, Haitians on TPS have 27,000 U.S.-citizen children among them and 6,200 are homeowners. The ending of TPS will have a devastating impact on the individuals losing their status and on the communities where they live. A majority of the impacted Haitians live in Florida, but an estimated 2,000 live in New York City and Long Island.
Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said that “I travelled to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 and after hurricane Matthew in 2016. So, I can personally attest that Haiti is not prepared to take back nearly 60,000 TPS recipients under these difficult and harsh conditions.” Relief experts have voiced similar concerns.
The decision to end TPS has less to do with conditions on the ground in Haiti and more to do with appeasing President Trump’s White Nationalist base. Eliminating programs like TPS and DACA are red meat to the Breitbart-reading far-right wing of Trump’s shaky coalition. Their anger at his legislative failures can be assuaged, temporarily by doing bad things to immigrants, particularly black, Latino, and Muslim immigrants.
A report in the Washington Post ten days ago revealed the heavy pressure White House Chief of Staff John Kelly put on Acting Homeland Security Secretary Duke to end Honduran TPS. There is no doubt that similar pressure was brought to bear on her decision on Haiti.
Next up for renewal of TPS will be El Salvador in January followed by Honduras next Spring.