US

DHS Secretary Extends Temporary Protected Status For Nearly 60,000 Haitians By Six Months

(ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly will extend amnesty to approximately 60,000 Haitians for an additional six months, government officials announced Monday.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was given to Haitians in the U.S. after the 2010 earthquake that hit the Caribbean nation.

Haiti is one of 13 nations that receive the designation. Recipients are awarded protection from deportation, access to a driver’s license, work permit, social security card, and some welfare benefits from states.

The DHS officials said that while the TPS status will be extended until Jan 22, 2018, recipients should get their affairs in order, including getting travel documentation from their government. The extension was based on continuing poor conditions from the earthquake, but a senior DHS official said he anticipates these will change and get better in six months.

A leaked memo from the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recommended that Secretary Kelly end TPS for Haitians, but extend their status for six months in order for it to occur smoothly.

A senior DHS official told reporters that the Haitian government had let the U.S. know that they would like these TPS recipients to return back to their home.

DHS will make the extension official in the coming days and recipients have 60 days to renew both their status and work permit.