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US to deport 700 Haitians

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

US to deport 700 Haitians

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WASHINGTON – United States immigration officials say about 700 Haitians with criminal records will be deported this year.
“The Department of State has been working with the Government of Haiti to ensure that the resumption of removals is conducted in a safe, humane manner with minimal disruption to ongoing rebuilding efforts,” said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez.
“Repatriations to Haiti will be conducted in line with ICE’s priority of removing criminal aliens who pose the greatest threat to public safety,” she added.
US immigration officials said about 31 000 Haitians have orders to leave the country.
Deportations from the US to Haiti had been stayed on humanitarian grounds since the deadly earthquake on January 12 last year.
But advocates and community members say they were shocked when, on December 9, last year, the ICE unexpectedly announced that it was lifting the ban on deportations to Haiti for individuals with criminal records and would resume deportations in January.
On January 20, the US followed through with its plan by deporting 27 Haitians with criminal records.
The US, has, however, granted Temporary Protection Status (TPS) to Haitians who are living illegally in the country before the earthquake. 
TPS for Haitians is set to expire on July 22, and Immigration officials have said those who were granted the special status won’t be deported.
Gonzales said more than 61 000 Haitians have applied for TPS, warning that only those who were already living in the US illegally when the earthquake hit are eligible. (CMC)