The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that its Secretary, John F. Kelly, is travelling to Haiti on Wednesday “where he will meet with President Jovenel Moïse and other senior government officials.”
DHS said in a very brief statement that Kelly will “discuss international cooperation and issues related to repatriation, as well as efforts to build Haiti’s maritime law enforcement capacity, and to encourage cooperation between the Dominican Republic and Haiti’s nascent border security unit.”
Kelly’s visit comes after announcing last week Monday that he was granting a six-month TPS extension to Haitians living illegally in the US. The extension, which becomes effective on July 23, and runs through January 22, 2018.
But Kelly warned that the extension should allow Haitian TPS recipients living in the US “time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States, and should also provide the Haitian government with the time it needs to prepare for the future repatriation of all current TPS recipients.”
In making the decision to grant Haitians limited TPS, rather than the usual 18 months, Kelly said conditions in Haiti had “substantially improved since the earthquake in 2010.”
He cited, among other things, the impending withdrawal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) in Haiti after 13 years; newly elected President Moïse’s promise to rebuild the razed National Palace; and the closure of most of the tent cities.
But Haitians in the US are querying their fate after the limited TPS ends. Miami resident Evita Fremont, 48, like thousands of her compatriots, wondered what she would be going back to, according to the Miami Herald.
“If they tell you to get out, you have to get out,” she told the paper. “Haiti is my country, but it doesn’t have jobs. So, I am going back to do what?”
Seven years after the devastating earthquake, they say, Haiti is still recovering from the collapse of its economy, and is struggling to restore social and economic normalcy, the newspaper reported.
Last week, the Trump administration proposed cutting the US$191 million in assistance it gave to Haiti in the 2016-2017 budget by US$33.4 million next year.
The Miami Herald said that’s on top of drastic reductions in the US contribution to the UN’s peacekeeping operations and humanitarian programs around the globe, including Haiti.
- Countries: Haiti