The Trump Administration Revokes Legal Status for More Than 50,000 Haitian Immigrants

They now have a daunting choice: return home or live undocumented.

Lynne Sladky/AP

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The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday evening that more than 50,000 Haitian immigrants living in the United States will lose the status that protects them from deportation. As of July 22, 2019, they’ll  be forced to return to Haiti or risk living in the United States as undocumented immigrants in an era of heightened fear. 

Temporary protected status is granted by DHS to foreign nationals whose home countries are dealing with humanitarian crises such as war or, as in Haiti’s case, a natural disaster. It’s usually renewed in 6 to 18-month intervals. 

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the small Caribbean country in 2010, killing an estimated 300,000 people and leaving millions homeless. President Barack Obama granted the special status to Haitians the following year.

Haitians’ TPS had been continually renewed since then, but in May, then-DHS head and now Trump chief of staff John Kelly announced that their status, which was coming up again for renewal in July, would only be renewed for six months and reevaluated in November.

Earlier this month, DHS terminated TPS for Nicaraguan immigrants, giving the 2,500 TPS holders until January 5, 2019 to leave the country.

Immigration activists and even members of Congress have cautioned the Trump administration against sending Haitian immigrants back. Since the earthquake, Haiti has been dealing with an ongoing cholera epidemic, chronic poverty, and underemployment, exacerbated by the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Matthew which killed hundreds in 2016. Proponents of extending their status also argue that Haitian TPS holders are leading productive lives in the US; according to a study by the Center for Migration Studies, 80 percent are employed, more than 6,000 have a mortgage, and 27,000 of their children are US citizens.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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