MIAMI— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has extended temporary protected status for Haitians living in the United States for another 18 months, beginning Jan. 22.
The Department of Homeland Security is expected to publish a notice in the Federal Register this week announcing the decision, which will allow about 60,000 Haitian citizens to remain in the United States until July 2014. Haitians will have 60 days to reregister from the day that the notice is published.
Haitian advocates and immigration activists welcomed the news and said they were grateful, but complained that a double standard and discrimination against Haitians continue.
"We had no doubts that TPS (temporary protected status) would be extended given the in-country conditions right now. We just were not sure if it was going to happen before or after the elections," said Marleine Bastien, founder of Haitian Women of Miami. "We are grateful that it's extended even though it is with the same failings that we have brought to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security."
Bastien said students who arrived in South Florida after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti cannot go to college because they are being charged prohibitive out-of-state tuition. Some who are in nursing school cannot sit for their nursing exam because of their temporary protected status.
She also said Haitians continue to be deported despite the sluggish recovery from the earthquake and a cholera epidemic that has killed 7,000 and infected more than a half million people.
In Haiti, the number of people still in tents has dropped from 1.5 million to just under 400,000.