U.S. grants temporary protective status to undocumented Haitian immigrants
by desmoinesdem, Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 09:13:25 PM EST
ABC News reports today that the U.S. will grant "temporary protective status" to undocumented immigrants from Haiti in light of the recent devastating earthquake there:
"This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months," Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced late today on a conference call. "Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration's continuing efforts to support Haiti's recovery."
Napolitano estimated that there are 100,000 to 200,000 Haitian nationals currently in the country illegally.
"TPS gives them sort of an intermediate immigration status," said the secretary. "It allows them -- only for a period of 18 months, while Haiti gets back on its feet -- to remain in the United States and authorizes them to work during that period, among other things." [...]
By law, the secretary of Homeland Security can offer temporary protected status to illegal immigrants of a particular nationality if calamities such as natural disasters or war make it too burdensome for their home countries to receive them.
Many politicians in both parties have expressed support for granting TPS to Haitians, Andrea Nill noted at the Think Progress blog. But Republican Congressman Steve King (R, IA-05) put a wingnutty spin on the humanitarian crisis:
"This sounds to me like open borders advocates exercising the Rahm Emanuel axiom: 'Never let a crisis go to waste,'" Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said in an e-mail message to ABCNews. "Illegal immigrants from Haiti have no reason to fear deportation, but if they are deported, Haiti is in great need of relief workers, and many of them could be a big help to their fellow Haitians."
How very compassionate of him.