Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Than 12,000 Haitians Apply to Stay Legally in the US

According to Citizen and Immigration Services, a part of the Homeland Security Department, more than 12,000 Haitians have applied for the chance to stay and work legally in the United States as their country struggles to recover from the devastating earthquake which struck last month.

CIS spokesman Bill Wright said that the applications have been rolling in, despite the July 20 deadline being months away. As of Feb. 10, the department said t has received 12,583 application packages. Last month the agency estimated that between 100,000 to 200,000 Haitian immigrants would be eligible to apply. Application feels cost $470, and the status is only available to those immigrants who were already in the U.S. on January 12, the day the earthquake rocked Haiti.

The opportunity to work is critical for many of the Haitian immigrants that are hoping to help family and friends back home in Haiti still trying to overcome the affects of the magnitude-7 quake.

Because it is unsafe to return the illegal immigrants to Haiti, Homeland Security has said that it would grant eligible immigrants temporary protected status. This would allow successful applicants to remain and work for 18 months without having to worry about deportation or detention.

Temporary protected status is granted when the government deems it unsafe to send immigrants to their home countries due to armed conflict or natural disasters. The U.S. has also decided to suspend deportations of Haitians, but continues to repatriate those intercepted on the sea.
Source: CBS

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