U.S. Suspends Deportations of Undocumented Haitians Due to Earthquake
January 14th, 2010
In response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, United States Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on January 13 that it is temporarily suspending deportations of all undocumented Haitians living in the United States. There was no immediate indication that the federal government would grant Haitian nationals needed Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
Temporary protected status is a special state granted to immigrants of certain nationalities who are unable to return to their countries because of armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Somalia refugees have been granted TPS. Haiti clearly qualifies.
While deportations have been put on hold, some Members of Congress and immigration reform advocates are calling the Obama Administration to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian immigrants currently in the United States. Speaking the day after the Haiti earthquake, Miami Catholic Archbishop John C. Favalora called for this status to be granted to Haitians following the devastating earthquake in their homeland. Since January 2009, over 30,000 undocumented Haitians have been issued with deportation orders.