Following a ruling sent down by Donald Trump’s administration on Monday (Nov. 20), 59,000 Haitian people who were allowed admittance into the U.S. for work and livelihood following the country’s 2010 earthquake, now have to return to their homeland after the Temporary Protected Status initiative will end in 2019.
According to the New York Times, the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s President Dan Stein said this program was meant to have a termination date. “The notion that this would be reflexively renewed again and again is a corruption of the entire concept,” he said. “It’s not a refugee program or an immigration program. It’s supposed to be reviewed and it’s supposed to be temporary.”
Seven years ago, a magnitude 7 earthquake rocked the country, displacing hundreds of thousands of Haitian residents and killing nearly 320,000 people, CNN reports. As a result, former President Barack Obama’s administration renewed the Temporary Protected Status program until the country could regain its economic footing.
A statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security outlined that Haiti’s government is equipped to receive its former residents while those who will be affected by this mandate are worried about their future.
“Since the 2010 earthquake, the number of displaced people in Haiti has decreased by 97 percent. Significant steps have been taken to improve the stability and quality of life for Haitian citizens, and Haiti is able to safely receive traditional levels of returned citizens,” the statement notes.
The Times adds that some Haitian immigrants affected by this mandate have sought asylum in Quebec, Canada.