Miami Herald: Maybe as many as 200,000 Haitians illegally in US will apply for TPS

We told you about the Obama Administration’s decision to grant illegal alien Haitians already in the US before the earthquake Temporary Protected Status here.

Now comes word, oops! that the number is far greater than originally thought. 

The Obama administration is preparing to handle applications from as many as 200,000 undocumented Haitian immigrants who want to live and work legally in the United States under a new immigration program unveiled last week in the aftermath of Haiti’s destructive earthquake.

The federal government will begin accepting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applications on Thursday, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas, whose agency will process the paperwork.

Mayorkas was in Miami Wednesday to meet with local immigrant aid groups to South Florida to talk about the daunting task of handling the likely blizzard of applications from Haitians seeking the opportunity to remain in the United States.


The TPS designation is reserved for selected undocumented migrants from countries disrupted by natural disasters, armed conflicts or other emergencies.

Those Haitians approved will be allowed to stay in the United States for 18 months and be issued work permits to find jobs.

The Liberian example*:   This 18 months business is a joke.  We granted Liberians TPS years ago and halted it in 2006.  When the deadline approached this year to deport those who had TPS status, heavy lobbying by the likes of Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island (here) and others persuaded the Obama Administration to extend their deadline to be deported, here.   What do you think the chances are that once established in jobs, buying homes and sending kids to school they will ever be returned to Liberia (or Haiti)?

What a surprise, earlier in the week immigrant advocacy groups had the number of Haitians in the US wrong.

Local immigrant advocacy groups say that between 34,000 and 68,000 potential TPS applicants may be in South Florida and almost 100,000 statewide. They had earlier pegged the number of Haitians eligible for TPS at 30,000 nationwide.

So, let’s see!  We are going to give TPS status to 200,000 Haitians so they can compete with Americans for scarce jobs then send a large portion of the money they make back to Haiti.  And, if they don’t find jobs, will they send their welfare checks back to Haiti?

By obtaining work permits with the possibility of getting a job, tens of thousands of undocumented Haitian immigrants in the United States are likely to send tens of millions of dollars to homeland relatives.

The latest estimate shows that Haitian immigrants in the United States send more than $1 billion in remittances to Haiti, according to the Inter-American Development Bank, which closely tracks remittances to the region.

The money sent from Haitians living in the United States and other foreign countries represents more than one-third of Haiti’s gross national product.

There is a fee schedule for TPS applications, but no surprise the feds are considering waiving it.

* Update:  A reader sent me this good article by Roy Beck at NumbersUSA from last March about the Obama extension of TPS for Liberians.

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