Haiti: US extends TPS, deportations continue

The US Department of Homeland Security announced the week of May 16 that it was extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians for another 18 months, until Jan. 22, 2013. TPS is a program that allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the US because of temporary conditions in their homelands that would prevent them from returning safely, such as a natural catastrophe. TPS was first granted to Haitians living in the US without documents in January 2010 following an earthquake that devastated much of southern Haiti. (Haïti Libre, Haiti, May 17; Homeland Security announcement, May 19)

However, the US is continuing to deport Haitians who have been convicted of a crime, despite the dangerous conditions in the country and the bad publicity the US received following the death of Wildrick Guerrier, apparently from cholera, shortly after he was repatriated in January of this year [see Update #1066]. Another mass deportation occurred on April 15. The University of Miami Immigration and Human Rights Clinics, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, FAMN and Alternative Chance have prepared an internet petition calling on US president Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to halt the deportations. At the end of May 29 there were 4,044 signatures on the petition, which can be accessed at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/383/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6590.

To bring more attention to the issue, CCR created a 15-second ad calling for an end to the deportations and paid for it to run once an hour on a Jumbotron screen operated by CBS Outdoor in New York’s Times Square. But CCR received an email from the Neutron Media marketing firm saying: “The CBS censors have pulled down your creative for being too controversial.” CCR is calling for people to write CBS Outdoor at info@cbsoutdoor.com and ask the company to explain its reasons for removing the ad. (New York Daily News, May 24)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 29.

See our last posts on Haiti and the politics of immigration.