The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), recently resumed the removal of Haitian nationals who are present in the country illegally.
Removals were previously scheduled to begin on Oct. 4, however, DHS decided to delay the removal processes in response to Hurricane Matthew. Over the last several weeks, the department has removed more than 200 Haitian nationals and now plans to significantly expand removal operations in the coming weeks.
DHS said Haitian nationals that are covered by temporary protective status (TPS) will be unaffected by the resumption of flights to Haiti.
“Specifically, those Haitian nationals who have been continuously residing in the United States since January 12, 2011 and currently hold TPS may remain in the United States and are not subject to removal,” said DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. “These beneficiaries also remain eligible for employment authorization. TPS for Haitian nationals has been extended through July 22, 2017.”
Johnson said the department has seen an increase in the numbers of individuals apprehended along the southern U.S. border. In response, he instructed border security and immigration enforcement personnel to take steps to keep pace with the increase. As a result, approximately 41,000 individuals have been placed in immigration detention facilities, which includes approximately 4,400 Haitians.
“We must enforce the immigration laws consistent with our priorities,” Johnson said. “Those who attempt to enter our country illegally must know that, consistent with our laws and our values, we must and we will send you back.”