Trump administration threatens to deport tens of thousands of Haitian refugees
11 May 2017
Using a mixture of claims that conditions in Haiti have improved and a witch hunt for “criminal aliens,” the Trump administration is pushing to end Temporary Protected Status for more than 50,000 Haitian refugees living in the US.
Temporary Protected Status for qualified Haitians in the United States—granted after the 2010 earthquake—will expire on July 22. The Department of Homeland Security must decide and publish in the Federal Register at least 60 days before expiration whether it will extend the status for Haitians. Acting U.S. Customs and Immigration Services Director James McCament is seeking to shut down the program.
Emails obtained and summarized by the Associated Press show that Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, the new head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office of Policy and Strategy, has been pressuring staff—at the request of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly—to dig for information on crimes or welfare “abuse” committed by Haitians covered by TPS.
Kovarik wrote to her staff that “I know some of it is not captured, but we’ll have to figure out a way to squeeze more data out of our systems.” Given the record to date of the Trump administration and the wording of Kovarik’s email, it is likely that DHS will manufacture data to meet its needs if none is found.
In an April 28 email Kovarik wrote that “we should should also find any reports of criminal activity by any individual with TPS.”
Looking for ways to hide the cruelty of deporting tens of thousands of people to one of the poorest countries in the world, Kovarik requested that her staff “please dig for any stories (successful or otherwise) that would show how…