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Haiti - USA : Thousands of Haitians fear to be forced to return to Haiti
15/05/2011 12:36:41

Haiti - USA : Thousands of Haitians fear to be forced to return to Haiti
The federal program Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti, a special status, allowing evacuees from the January 2010 earthquake to leave Haiti for an 18-month period to live and work in the U.S. without documentation. This program, which officially began on January 21 of last year, is expiring July 22. Thousands of Haitians living among others, to New York, fear to be forced to return to their homeland devastated.

Councilman Mathieu Eugene of Flatbush, himself a Haitian-born immigrant, told NBC New York on Thursday that the Haitian community in his district has grown significantly since the earthquake, and the lack of infrastructure, resources and medical care in the country make returning an unacceptable option. He calls the U.S. government to renew this humanitarian program "Most people here won't even have a place to live [...] Their houses have been destroyed [...] They come from Haiti to the United States because they lost family, they lost houses, they lost their livelihood..."

The councilman and other advocates are lobbying the government to extend the program past the July expiration date.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Adam Fetcher said that any changes to a country's TPS status "are considered based on the current country conditions and in consultation with other U.S. government agencies."

While the program was enacted in response to the large number of earthquake evacuees, it also affects a number of Haitians previously living undocumented in the country who will now be sent back to Haiti, in the absence of special protection offered them by the TPS.

United States extends the TPS for 18 months

BF/ HaitiLibre

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