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Trump administration ends temporary protection for Haitians (Lead)

Washington, Nov 21 (IANS) President Donald Trump’s administration has announced that it was ending a humanitarian programme that has allowed some 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the US since an earthquake ravaged their country in 2010, media reports said.

The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti will end by July 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement on Monday night.

“Based on all available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, Acting Secretary Elaine Duke determined that those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist,” CNN quoted the statement as saying.

“Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.”

According to the DHS, the department can designate a country for TPS when it has been affected by “conditions that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately”.

This can include situations like civil wars or natural disasters. Individuals who are already in the US from the designated countries are eligible and are then protected from deportation.

When their protected status expires, individuals living in the US under those protections will revert to the status they would have had otherwise or the status they applied for in the interim, meaning thousands could become undocumented overnight if they do not leave or qualify for residency another way, reports CNN.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still struggling to rebuild from the disastrous 7-magnitude quake that struck the nation on January 12, 2010, killing over 100,000 people.

It relies heavily on money its expatriates send to relatives back home.

According to Monday’s announcement, “the termination of TPS for Haiti will be delayed 18 months” in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Earlier this month, the administration announced it would not renew the provisional residency of 2,500 Nicaraguans, and gave them 14 months to leave the US, reports The Washington Post.

Both the Nicaraguans and Hondurans have been shielded from deportation since a devastating 1998 hurricane hit those nations.

The TPS status for an additional 200,000 Salvadorans, here since El Salvador was struck by a series of earthquakes in 2001, is also due to expire in January 2018.

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