The Trump administration announced Monday it will end immigration protections for about 59,000 Haitians living in the United States in May 2019 after concluding that conditions in the poverty-stricken Caribbean country have improved enough for residents to return since a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010.
The Obama administration first granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians after the earthquake which killed more than 200,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.
Under TPS, citizens of designated countries that have undergone a major natural or man-made disaster are allowed to remain in the United States where they can legally work until conditions in their home nations recover.
“The decision to terminate TPS (temporary protected status) for Haiti was made after a review of the conditions upon which the country’s original designation were based and whether those extraordinary but temporary conditions prevented Haiti from adequately handling the return of their nationals, as required by statute,” DHS said in a statement. “Based on all available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, Acting Secretary Duke determined that those extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist.”
Haiti is one of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Duke canceled TPS benefits for nearly 5,000 Nicaraguans earlier this month, giving them until Jan. 9, 2019 to make arrangements.