USCIS Memo to DHS recommending termination of Haiti's TPS Designation

USCIS issued a memorandum to the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") on April 24, 2017 recommending DHS terminate the designation for Temporary Protected Status ("TPS") for Haiti, as the agency concluded that the conditions in Haiti no longer support its designation. USCIS recommended that the effective termination date be set for January 22, 2018. The memo states "[USCIS] has concluded that the specific extraordinary and temporary conditions stemming from the 2010 earthquake which caused Haiti to be initially designated for TPS and to be redesignated in 2011 have been largely ameliorated. Those myriad problems remaining in Haiti are longstanding problems which have existed for many years before the 2010 disaster. Haitian nationals may safely return to Haiti ..."  

USCIS's memo included its recommendations to DHS on how to treat Haitian nationals in the U.S. on TPS: "If you determine that Haiti no longer continues to meet the statutory requirements for its TPS designation, you must terminate TPS for Haiti. Termination would end TPS benefits for existing Haitian TPS beneficiaries unless you provide for these benefits during a period for orderly transition. Upon the termination of TPS benefits, former beneficiaries without another immigration status or authorization to remain would no longer have permission to work and remain in the United States."

This recommendation from USCIS received a quick response from sixteen Democratic Senators, including Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York, urging DHS Secretary John F. Kelly and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to extend the benefit despite USCIS's recommendation. DHS has not commented on USCIS's recommendation. Since the release of that memo, the Associated Press is reporting the Trump administration has begun hunting for evidence of crimes committed by Haitian immigrants as it decides whether to continue the TPS designation. In its report, the AP stated, "The request for criminal data for an entire ethnic community is unorthodox...Introducing new criteria is likely to cause consternation among law-abiding Haitians who may feel they are being penalized for the wrongdoing of others." We will continue to closely monitor the situation in the coming weeks and provide updates on our website.