On November 20th, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded the Temporary Protected Status for Haitians who were displaced by the 2010 Earthquake. This status is offered to people when war, a natural disaster, or other ‘extraordinary’ conditions make returning to a country unsafe.
The federal government offered this status to Haitians after the country was ravaged in 2010. The earthquake itself ended the lives of 300,000 people. More than 1.5 million more were displaced, and a cholera epidemic broke out due to the medical conditions of the country.
Those who are in favor of this policy point out that the status was meant to be temporary. The program has already been extended several times, as recently as May of 2017.
Those who are against this policy change suggest that Haitians have become part of their communities here. Haiti’s quality of life may not be that high at the moment. Haiti was ravaged by Hurricane Matthew last year, and diphtheria has broken out in the country. 20% of Haitians own homes, and Haitians have become a major part of the construction industry, especially in South Florida. Since the earthquake, many Haitians have had children in the United States, and this policy change may break up families.
Many Haitians work here at The Berman Law Group. We are heavily involved in our community, and we want to help establish what Haitian people can do in the wake of this change.
The Next Steps
Haitians who have this status may legally remain in the country until July 22nd, 2019. After this point, people’s immigration status will revert to whatever it was before TPS was granted. This might mean that immigrants will be deported.
TPS does not grant a path towards a green card or citizenship. If you want to stay in the United States, you will have to find another way.
Those who are working may find that their employer may sponsor them for a green card. This does not apply to all types of jobs. Finding an employer who wishes to help you out in this manner may be difficult. If you are highly skilled or have attained a certain level of education, getting a green card may be easier.
Marriage to a citizen of the United States automatically confers citizenship. Those who attain citizenship in this fashion must prove a few different facts. First, they must show that the marriage is legal. Second, they must prove that the marriage is not a sham. The marriage cannot be just for getting your green card.
If you can prove that you would face persecution in Haiti, you may be eligible to receive asylum. For example, if you can demonstrate that you will face violence because you are a sexual, religious, or some other form of minority, then you might be able to stay. This route may be hard, however.
The Berman Law Group is part of the South Florida community. We live, work, and have fun with Haitians. If you are facing deportation, we can help. The Berman Law Group has experienced immigration attorneys, and we can fight for you. Call us today.