by Akpene Jacob
The Trump administration said Monday it is ending a temporary residency permit program that has allowed almost 60,000 citizens from Haiti to live and work in the United States since a 2010 powerful earthquake shook the Caribbean nation.
The Homeland Security Department said conditions in Haiti have improved significantly, so the benefit will be extended one last time — until July 2019 — to give Haitians time to prepare to return home.
“Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced people in Haiti has decreased by 97%,” the department said in a press release. “Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens.”
Advocates and members of Congress from both parties had asked the Trump administration for an 18-month extension of the program, known as Temporary Protected Status. Haitian President Jovenel Moise’s government also requested the extension.
Advocates for Haitians say conditions in the island nation haven’t improved nearly enough for Haitians to be deported.
While Haiti has made advances spurred by international aid since the quake, the Caribbean nation remains one of the poorest in the world. More than 2.5 million people, roughly a quarter of the population, live on less than $1.23 a day, which authorities there consider extreme poverty.