Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has to decide soon whether to extend an amnesty program for nearly 59,000 Haitians, and his department has been analyzing whether these immigrants are committing crimes, according to a report Tuesday from the Associated Press.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was initiated for Haitians in 2010 after an earthquake struck the Caribbean nation. TPS beneficiaries live free of risk of deportation, and receive work permits,access to certain welfare programs, drivers’ licenses, and social security.
The status has been continuously renewed and there are approximately 58,700 Haitians taking advantage of the program, which expires on July 22. The internal emails obtained by the AP show that DHS employees have been directed to find criminal activity, misuse of public benefits by Haitian TPS beneficiaries and also find examples of improvement of quality of life in Haiti.
The acting director of United States Immigration and Citizenship Services recommended last month that Kelly allow Haiti’s TPS status to expire citing an improvement in the country since the earthquake. The DHS Secretary has until May 23 to decide, if he doesn’t take action it will automatically get renewed for an additional six months.