Haitians living in New England on Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, have just 18 months to prepare to leave the country. The Trump Administration has decided not to renew their status, granted to countries where natural disasters or armed conflict make it difficult to live safely.
Haiti was granted TPS six years ago, after a major earthquake. Since then, immigration attorney Alex Meyerovich says many Haitians have built lives in his state of Connecticut.
"For example, I have a Haitian TPS holder who’s a professional, graduated, has a master’s degree, works for a large corporation," Meyerovich said. "After years of investing in herself, hoping for the best, now I really don’t what's going to be in her cards."
According to Meyerovich, it makes no sense to end TPS for Haitians because the country is still recovering from previous natural disasters.
"Haiti is probably the most vulnerable in terms of infrastructure devastation that was brought upon by the natural disaster back in 2011 and then subsequent typhoons, cyclones that added to this misery," Meyerovich said.
The Center for American Progress estimates thousands of TPS holders from Haiti live in New England. The Trump Administration says conditions in Haiti have improved enough for them to return.
This report comes from the New England News Collaborative: Eight public media companies, including Rhode Island Public Radio, coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.