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US extends protected status for Haitians until January

US extends protected status for Haitians until January

Tens of thousands of Haitian refugees living in Florida received another six months to stay, news that some political leaders - primarily Democrats - are hailing as a victory.

"There's a workforce of Haitians in every sector of business, and I don't think we should overlook that", Jean said.

More than 50,000 of them have TPS.

Next up for decisions are Sudan and South Sudan, where TPS expires in November.

But while Haitians were celebrating, citizens from Liberia and Sierra Leone were not. Should the Trump administration end TPS for Haiti, other groups can reasonably fear losing their TPS status as well.

Liberians had been hoping a late town hall rally would push the administration to change its mind but that did not materialize with many critics suggesting that Liberian Diaspora organizations waited too late to pile the pressure as the Haitians did.

The decision to extend TPS for only six months left some Haitians terrified about their future. It's the absolute minimum that the Department of Homeland Security could have done.

"If the administration declines to extend TPS, they will rip apart thousands of Haitian immigrant families who have sought temporary refuge in the USA while their country recovers", Carl Lipscombe, deputy director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), tells Colorlines."The government will also be sending the message that Black, immigrant and poor communities are no longer welcome in the United States".

Only people who were in the United States by January 12, 2011, the one-year anniversary of the natural disaster, were eligible to apply for protected status. Some 13 countries are now designated for TPS status, including Honduras, El Salvador, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. "We have the issue where you are going to be separating families", Forry told the News Service.

A humanitarian program that has allowed Haitians to legally live and work in the USA after a series of calamities befell their country was extended Monday until January - a move that fell far short of the hopes of Haitian-American community leaders and a range of Florida elected officials.

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BAJI created an action kit to help people urge DHS over the phone and on social media to ask Kelly to extend TPS.

They said no decision had been made over whether the TPS status would be extended again in January 2018, but that the agency "highly encouraged all TPS recipients to handle their affairs as appropriate, including obtaining travel documents". Some may be eligible for other immigration statuses.

"Six months is not an extension", Fanm Ayisen Nan Miyami tweeted.

According to the DHS, once the TPS becomes ineffective on May 21, 2017, former TPS beneficiaries will maintain the same immigration status they held before TPS (unless the status has since expired or been terminated) or any other status they may have acquired while registered for TPS.

Surin's downbeat assessment of the six-month extension echoed the way it was described by the Trump administration's homeland security secretary, John Kelly.

The 58,706 Haitians now benefiting from Temporary Protected Status, which allows them to live and work in the country legally, will be allowed to stay in the U.S. Under the extension, current beneficiaries are required to re-register and apply for new work documents that will expire on January 22, 2018.

The widespread transmission of Ebola virus in the three countries that led to the designations has ended.

We can't be a nation that doesn't vet immigrants carefully and keep track of them.

Yet President Trump's administration now is on the verge of inflicting more misery on Haiti and the Haitian American community.

The government's response to renewing TPS status seems to be influenced by Trump's tough-on-immigration enforcement policies. "It is in no shape to receive thousands of Haitians back to their homeland". The country has also dealt with a cholera epidemic that killed 9,000, a long drought, and last year's Hurricane Matthew, the biggest storm to hit Haiti in 50 years.

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