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Are authorities restricting immigration protections for refugees?

Immigrants seeking to remain in the United States need to pursue a legal procedure called an adjustment of status. If approved, an applicant will become a lawful permanent resident of the United States and no longer need to apply for immigrant visas.

Our law firm focuses on immigration law. There are a number of different ways to qualify for adjustment, and we have helped clients pursue this relief based on qualifying family, employment and even refugee status. Today’s post examines the last category.

Specifically, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently approved an extension of temporary protected status to Haitian nationals dealing with the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. The extension affects an estimated 58,000 Haitian refugees in the United States.

However, the relief may not be as generous as it seems. Previous extensions have ranged between 18 and 24 months, whereas the instant extension is only for six months. In addition, an official DHS memo accompanying the extension states that the purpose of the instant extension is to allow Haitian refugees the time needed to ready their travel documents for deportation at the end of that six-month period, in January 2018.

It has been seven years since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, but many commentators say that Haiti is in no shape to receive an influx of refugees given that its infrastructure is still largely in shambles. Others oppose deportation, citing the cultural and economic contributions that Haitian refugees have given to their local communities. Deportation would also be a major lifestyle disruption for U.S.-born children of Haitian refugees. The conclusion of the TPS program in January 2018 will uproot entire families from their new homes and forcibly relocate them back to Haiti.

Source: Politifact Florida, “Donald Trump extended Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. Here's what that means,” Miriam Valverde, May 22, 2017

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