By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. May 31, 2017: Guess which of Donald Trump’s secretaries will be in the Caribbean nation of Haiti on Weds. May 31, 2017?
Fresh from grudgingly granting some 60,000 Haitian immigrants in the US a bare six-month extension on their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and a notice to pack and get ready to leave by next January, US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly is set to be in Haiti today.
Kelly will travel to the Caribbean nation on Wednesday, May 31st, one day ahead of the start of Caribbean American Heritage Month in the United States. It will be Kelly’s first trip to the Caribbean region.
In Haiti, he will meet with President Jovenel Moïse and other senior government officials to discuss TPS as well as issues related to repatriation, international cooperation and issues related to repatriation, as well as efforts to build Haiti’s maritime law enforcement capacity.
He is also set to encourage cooperation between the Dominican Republic and Haiti’s nascent border security unit, according to a DHS statement Tuesday.
Kelly’s Haiti trip comes as the Trump Department of State on May 22nd warned U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Haiti due to its current security environment and lack of adequate medical facilities and response. The latest travel advisory warns against travel to the areas of Petionville and the storm-damaged southern peninsula departments of Grand Anse and Sud and replaces the Travel Warning dated November 4, 2016.
The latest Haiti travel warning says the US remains concerned about the security situation in the southern peninsula departments of Grand Anse and Sud following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew and medical care infrastructure, ambulances, and other emergency services throughout Haiti.
The US State Department also noted that rates of kidnapping, murder, and rape in the Caribbean island rose in 2016 and kidnapping for ransom can affect anyone in Haiti, particularly long-term residents and that armed robberies and violent assaults reported by U.S. citizens have risen in recent years.
Kelly though through a DHS statement also on May 22nd told Haitian immigrants to “use the time before Jan. 22, 2018 to prepare for and arrange … departure from the United States.”
The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, (CIS), also repeated this in their notice advising Haitian beneficiaries on how to re-register.
“During this six-month extension, beneficiaries are encouraged to prepare for their return to Haiti in the event Haiti’s designation is not extended again, including requesting updated travel documents from the government of Haiti,” the statement issued on May 24, 2017 said.
Kelly has claimed that there are indications that Haiti may not warrant further TPS extension past January 2018 since the country has made progress across several fronts since the devastating earthquake in 2010
“The Haitian economy continues to recover and grow, and 96 percent of people displaced by the earthquake and living in internally displaced person camps have left those camps. Even more encouraging is that over 98 percent of these camps have closed,” he added. “Also indicative of Haiti’s success in recovering from the earthquake seven years ago is the Haitian government’s stated plans to rebuild the Haitian President’s residence at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, and the withdrawal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.”
Haitians who supported for and voted for Trump in the US Presidential election last Fall have expressed disappointment with the administration’s announcement on TPS and said Trump broke his promise to them when he told them last September in Little Haiti in Miami, he would be their “champion.”