Stewart Rabinowitz, of the Dallas-based law firm Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, offers some perspectives on the island nation’s current calamitous chaos.
On January 13, 2010, DHS Deputy Press Secretary Matt Chandler, in response to the devastating earthquake epicentered in Port au Prince, Haiti, announced a suspension of removals to Haiti. Chandler said, “Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Assistant Secretary John Morton today halted all removals to Haiti for the time being in response to the devastation caused by yesterday’s earthquake. ICE continues to closely monitor the situation.”
The Administration considered and on January 15, 2010 granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the wake of the disaster. TPS allows citizens of countries so designated who are in the U.S. illegally to stay and work in the U.S. legally for up to 18 months. Haitians who were residing in the U.S. on the day of the quake and who meet other requirements are eligible to apply. Presently, the DHS is readying for the registration of what DHS estimates to be 100,000-200,000 Haitians eligible to TPS. The registration period will begin on the date that DHS publishes notice in the Federal Register. Qualifying Haitians in the U.S. will have a 180 day window thereafter in which to file. TPS can be extended multiple times depending on Department of State’s assessment of country conditions. “Conditions are horrific there, almost unimaginable,” said Stewart Rabinowitz with the Dallas-based law firm Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, “I am pleased that the Administration wasted little time in recognizing the severity of the situation.” According to Rabinowitz, Haiti is the poorest nation in the Northern Hemisphere, and this latest natural disaster, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the first major event of this kind in at least 200 years, is only the latest in a string of natural disasters. “Haiti has yet to recover from Tropical Storm Fay and hurricanes Gustav, Hanna, and Ike, which pounded Haiti in August and September 2008, killing a total of 793 people and leaving hundreds more missing. The country has also experienced riots over skyrocketing food prices and must endure a continued presence of UN troops to maintain order and now, a major earthquake in a country where buildings possess very little structural integrity.”
At least qualifying Haitians here can register for TPS and obtain employment authorization and can begin to assist family members in Haiti by remittances they will be able to send home to help in that country’s rebuilding process.
To learn more about Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C., call 1.972.233.6200 or visit Rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.