By: Valerie Johnston | Photo: Mysterypill/Flickr
Just days before the final date (May 23) for deciding the fate of more than 950,000 Haitians in America, the Trump administration has begun making inquiries into the criminal history of the Haitian immigrant population as a whole. Living here under Temporary Protected Status since 2010 after the devastating January 2010 earthquake, this population of Haitian immigrants has received extended stay visas several times under the Obama administration. These visas are set to expire in July 2017, giving the Trump administration just days to make an announcement about extending visas or not.
In the interim, Trump staffer Kovarik, policy chief, began making inquiries into the criminal histories of Haitians under Temporary Protected Status. Looking for any who have been convicted of any sort of crime throughout their entire lifetimes, Kovarik also asked for data on how many of these protected immigrants had taken advantage of public benefits, as well as how many have sent money back to Haiti, and how many have traveled back to Haiti during their time spent living in the U.S.
It is unclear whether this information is being used to determine if Temporary Protected Status should be extended or allowed to expire, although the implications of such questions seem clear to many. Former CIS ombudsman, Maria Odom, commented that any immigrants receiving TPS status were screened for criminal history before being allowed entrance into the country, and again at each time the visas are extended. Additionally, others stated that the inquiries could mean that a vast majority of TPS immigrants could face unfair deportation based on the actions of a few. Others, particularly members of the Congressional Black Caucus, have spoken out against these activities, stating that they are an obvious continuation of the Trump administration’s attempt to stereotype all immigrants.