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Haitian immigrants housed in a Methodist church in San Diego, California, on September 21, 2016. Photo: EPA-EFE / FILE / David Maung
Haitian immigrants housed in a Methodist church in San Diego, California, on September 21, 2016. Photo: EPA-EFE / FILE / David Maung

Trump puts an end to the migratory program that gave legal status to 59,000 Haitians

The majority of Haitian immigrants covered by the TPS program arrived in the US fleeing the devastating 2010 earthquake. The elimination of the program opens…

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The anti-immigration measures of President Donald Trump don’t usually remain in mere speculations but are met, one by one.

Two months after ending the DACA - a program that gives temporary legal status to all those undocumented who entered the United States under the age of 16 - the Trump Administration announced on Monday that it ended the TPS (Temporary Protected Status), a program that it avoided the deportation of thousands of Haitian immigrants living in the United States.

The TPS immigration program was created in 1990 to guarantee temporary legal status in the US to citizens of other countries affected by natural disasters or armed conflicts.

In the case of Haiti, most immigrants received the TPS permit in 2010, when a strong earthquake struck the island, leaving around 300,000 dead.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the approximately 59,000 Haitian beneficiaries of the TPS have 18 months, until July 22, 2019, to return to their country or seek an alternative legal formula to remain in the US. Otherwise, they will be declared undocumented and will run the risk of being deported.

 A couple of months ago, Washington announced the termination of the TPS program for the more than 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants residing in the United States. Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries - mostly victims of devastating Hurricane Mitch - have 12 months to return to their country.

On the other hand, the Trump administration decided to extend the TPS for Honduras for another six months, which currently benefits 86,163 immigrants in the US, according to EFE.

Honduras was also one of the countries most affected by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

Washington is expected to end the TPS for El Salvador in January 2018. El Salvador - which suffered a series of earthquakes in 2001 - is the country with the most benefits from the program, with a figure close to 264,000.

"The Trump Administration has become a standard-bearer of the deportation of immigrants and the strengthening of border security," reports the Spanish newspaper El País.

The completion of the TPS program is in line with other drastic measures adopted by the Trump administration, such as the termination of the DACA program, which currently benefits nearly 800,000 undocumented youth.

DACA offered a legal permit to live and work in the US to all those immigrants who had entered the country illegally being younger than 16 years old, with the condition of being high school students and not having committed any crime. The permit was temporary and had to be renewed every two years. Nearly 200,000 beneficiaries of the program, the so-called "Dreamers", are now in the process of renewing their permit and fear being deported. President Trump has asked Congress to come up with an alternative program for Dreamers before March 5 of next year.

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