Tags: US | Haiti | deportation | immigrants

U.S. Suspends Deportation of Haitians

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 10:36 PM

Responding to the devastation from the Haiti earthquake, Obama administration officials on Wednesday temporarily suspended deportations of illegal immigrants from that country.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Haitian deportations would be halted “for the time being,” without specifying a time period. Immigration officials said it was clear they could be putting Haitians’ safety at risk by sending them back to a country staggering from the vast destruction of the quake. About 30,000 Haitians in the United States are facing deportation orders, immigration officials said.

Lawmakers and immigrant advocacy groups renewed calls for the administration to grant Haiti a special status that would shield Haitian immigrants in this country from deportation for an extended period and allow them to work legally. The Haitian government and advocates here have been asking Washington to grant the status, known as temporary protected status, since late 2008.

Haiti has sought the status after a punishing series of natural disasters, starting with floods in 2004 that left more than 5,000 people dead or missing. In 2008, four big storms killed at least 800 people and destroyed most of Haiti’s food crops.

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Wednesday, 13 January 2010 10:36 PM
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