Tuesday, May 16, 2017

White House Seeks Pretext for Deporting Haitians

The 2010 earthquake. Photo: Tequila Minsky/NY Times
Some 50,000 Haitians have been able to live legally in the United States since 2010 under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a special immigration status granted after a massive earthquake struck southern Haiti that year. The Trump administration plans to end TPS for Haitians starting in 2018, and now it’s looking for an excuse. Since there’s no evidence that conditions have improved in Haiti—which would provide a rationale for terminating TPS—the Department of Homeland Security is turning to classic racist and xenophobic stereotypes. Department employees have been instructed to look for evidence that Haitians covered by TPS are committing crimes and/or living on welfare.

Ironically, some Haitian Americans supported Donald Trump during his 2016 election. Now they seem surprised that his rightwing administration wants to deport African-descended immigrants.—TPOI editor

AP Exclusive: US digs for evidence of Haiti immigrant crimes

Alicia A. Caldwell, Associated Press
May 9, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — As the Trump administration weighs extending humanitarian protections for thousands of Haitian immigrants, officials are digging for unusual information: How many have been convicted of crimes.

Internal emails obtained by The Associated Press show a top immigration official wanted not only crime data on Haitians who are protected from deportation under the Temporary Protected Status program, but also how many were receiving public benefits. Such immigrants aren’t eligible for welfare benefits.

Roughly 50,000 Haitians have been allowed to live in the U.S. under the program in the aftermath of a 2010 earthquake, and the questions about misdeeds among them comes at a critical moment. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly must decide soon whether to continue protecting the group from deportation.[…]

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A Harrowing Turning Point for Haitian Immigrants

By Edwidge Danticat, New Yorker
May 12, 2017
D.—he asked that I not use his name—moved to the United States from Haiti with his parents in 2001, when he was nine years old. They travelled from Port-au-Prince on tourist visas, and then stayed beyond the authorized time period because of political instability in Haiti. D. attended school in Miami.

In high school he played football and had a 4.1 G.P.A. He completed all of his coursework, including all the Advanced Placement classes offered at his school, by the end of his junior year, and graduated in the top three per cent of his class. He applied and was accepted to Florida Memorial University in 2009, hoping to study engineering, but because he was undocumented he did not qualify for the full-ride scholarship he was offered. He tried other schools, including the local community college, but did not qualify for loans or in-state tuition. Instead, D. saved up for a paralegal-certificate course by working as a parking attendant at a Miami Beach hotel during the day, then at the hotel’s front desk at night. He studied and wrote papers during his night shifts. “It was like having two and a half jobs,” he told me recently. “I was only sleeping every other day. People kept telling me, ‘You’re so bright, why aren’t you in college?’ They didn’t realize that I wanted more than anything to go to college. I just didn’t have the opportunity.”[…]

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