U.S. Immigration Policy on Haitian Migrants
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The environmental, social, and political conditions in Haiti have long prompted congressional interest in U.S. policy on Haitian migrants, particularly those attempting to reach the United States by boat. While some observers assert that such arrivals by Haitians are a breach in border security, others maintain that these Haitians are asylum seekers following a decades old practice of Haitians coming by boat without legal immigration documents. Migrant interdiction and mandatory detention are key components of U.S. policy toward Haitian migrants, but human rights advocates express concern that Haitians are not afforded the same treatment as other asylum seekers. The devastation caused by the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti has led Department of Homeland Security DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to grant Temporary Protected Status TPS to Haitians in the United States at the time of the earthquake. The scale of current humanitarian crisis-estimated thousands of Haitians dead and reported total collapse of the infrastructure in the capital city of Port au Prince-resulted in this TPS announcement on January 15, 2010. Secretary Napolitano also announced that Haitian children who were legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the government of Haiti and who were in the process of being adopted by U.S. residents prior to the earthquake have been given humanitarian parole to come to the United States. Other Haitian orphans potentially eligible for humanitarian parole include children who were identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and who were matched to prospective American adoptive parents prior to January 12, 2010.
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