(ESPAÑOL) The Trump administration must soon decide whether to renew “Temporary Protected Status” for at least 50,000 Haitians living in the U.S. The Obama administration granted the protective immigration status following the devastating earthquake in 2010 that ravaged the island-nation, killing over 300,000 and displacing more than 1.5 million.
The designation allows Haitians to remain in the U.S. until conditions in their homeland improve. Without that status, thousands of Haitians may face returning to stark-conditions in Haiti.
The 18-month protective status has been renewed three times since it was originally granted by the Obama administration in 2010. The director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services James McCament recommended in April that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly not fully extend the designation for Haitians living in America because he said conditions have significantly improved since the earthquake.
That status is now slated to expire on July 22.
The final decision on extension now rests with Secretary Kelly. A spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told NBC News that Kelly had not made a decision yet.
As a candidate, Trump vowed to be a “champion” to the Haitian community during a September campaign stop in the “Little Haiti” neighborhood in Miami.
“The Haitian people deserve better and that’s what I intend to give them,” he said. “I will give them better.”
In March, a bi-partisan group of congressional lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary Kelly urging an extension of the protective status designation for Haitians. Since then, the Congressional Black Caucus, 416 faith leaders and editorial boards at The New York Times, Washington Post and Miami Herald have also urged allowing Haitians to remain under the designation.
McCament’s agency sent a vastly different report about the conditions in Haiti in December when they said housing shortages, a cholera epidemic, limited medical care, economic concerns, food insecurity and security threats still remained a problem in the country.