Wednesday, January 13, 2010

DHS Temporarily Halts Deportations to Haiti in Response to Catastrophic Earthquake

"US halts deportations to Haiti"
Associated Press writer LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ in Miami contributed to this report.
"Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano temporarily halted deportations Wednesday of some Haitians illegally in the U.S. in response to the Caribbean nation's devastating earthquake.

Those with deportation orders will be allowed to remain in the U.S. Those held in detention centers will remain jailed, Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler said.

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti Tuesday is believed to have left thousands dead. Corpses were piled in the streets near flattened buildings as the world relief response got under way.

The impact of Napolitano's decision should be limited, because the Obama administration quietly stopped deporting Haitians without criminal records last March, said Florida Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek.

In 2009, 221 noncriminal Haitians were deported to Haiti, down from 1,226 the previous year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement statistics. Deportations of Haitians with criminal records totaled 466 last year, compared to 428 in 2008...

Several members of Congress who represent Haitian communities have been pressuring the Obama administration to give temporary protected status, or TPS, to Haitians illegally in the U.S.

The designation would allow Haitians to remain and work legally in the U.S. The latest disaster gave new urgency to the lawmakers' demand."

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