United States cancels TPS for Haiti

There will be no more Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for approximately 60,000 Haitian nationals in the United States.

Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Elaine Duke announced today the end of the program.stating that "the extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist" and that therefore, the current designation of TPS in Haiti should be terminated.

"Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced persons in Haiti has decreased by 97%. Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitians, and Haiti is able to safely receive its citizens when they return," DHS said in a statement.

The Government gave an 18-month deadline to allow for an orderly transition, extending the final authorization of work permits and temporary residency for Haitians currently covered by TPS until July 22, 2019.

During this time, Haitians with TPS should seek other legal avenues to remain in the United States or prepare for their return to Haiti.

It is estimated that approximately 300,000 were killed and another 300,000 injured in the devastating January 2010 earthquake that generated billions of dollars in damage and initially displaced 1.5 million people.

Haiti was also affected by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and has suffered a cholera epidemic since October 2010. According to a Congressional Research Service report (Congressional Research Service), "the Haitian government has registered approximately 712,330 cases and it is believed that many cases went unreported. More than 8,600 people have died from cholera. The number of new cases has decreased over time, but has increased during the rainy season, when flooding spreads the disease. Haiti continues to have the largest cholera epidemic in the Western Hemisphere."

TPS could be eliminated for El Salvador and Honduras

The announcement comes two weeks after cancelling TPS for Nicaragua and extending the program for six months for Honduras.

The action indicates that the government is closely reviewing its policies for temporary protections and this move could mean that they will end the program for Honduras at the end of the six-month extension, and for El Salvador, which has the largest number of TPS holders - approximately 195,000 - and whose current expiration date is March 9, 2018.

DHS is due to announce its decision for El Salvador's TPS on January 8, 2018 - 60 days before the expiration of the program for that country.

Given this background, people with TPS should turn as soon as possible to immigration lawyers - not notarios, immigration consultants, multiservices or paperwork fillers - to assess whether they have any other legal option to remain in the country.