An estimated 600,000 Haitians currently live in the United States, with more than half of them naturalized citizens. However, a sizable portion, around 46,000, are here on a conditional approval entitled Temporary Protection Status, or commonly referred to as TPS. This safeguard is set to expire in January, and very little is being done in the White House to continue this measure.
TPS was granted to Haitians after the earthquake in 2010, which destroyed much of the capital Port-au-Prince, and killed about 230,000 people. Nationally, TPS grants immigrants from 10 countries to stay in the United States due to floods, war, droughts, earthquakes, or epidemics in their homelands. However, the status is not meant to be permanent. It acts as a short term solution for protection.
However, due to the many natural disasters in Haiti, from earthquakes to hurricane, and the corruption, the renewal of their protection status was consistently renewed from 2010. Therefore, many Haitians put down roots, had children, bought houses, paid taxes, and took out loans for cars and appliances. As many has said, they are Americans in every way, that this is their country – they just started life elsewhere, like generations of immigrants before. For this reason, many Haitians have now voiced concern.
OUR VERDICT: There are two sides to this debate: liberals have said that there is nothing there in Haiti for many of these individuals, and that they are contributing members to this society. Conservatives have argued that enforcement of TPS deadlines for Haitians and others is neither sudden nor unfair. The “T” in TPS stands for “temporary,” they point out, and people knew from the beginning that this act of benevolence carried a deadline. Certainly allowing Haitians to stay will circumvent the legal immigration system, but many say that they are benefiting the tax systems so much so that they deserve to stay.