CFGI Quoted – “DHS Cuts Off Protected Status for Haiti: What Employers Need to Know”

11/27/2017
SHRM


“About 50,000 Haitians who've lived in the United States since an earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, the island nation's capital in 2010, will lose protected immigration status and the work authorization that comes with it in July 2019.

“Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced Nov. 20 that the temporary protected status (TPS) designation will permanently end for Haiti eighteen months after its current January 2018 end date.

“The announcement follows recent news that DHS is terminating TPS for 2,500 Nicaraguans effective Jan. 5, 2019 after nearly two decades, and is extending the status for 57,000 Hondurans through July 2018, at which time their fate will be reconsidered.

“…Haitians were provided the provisional status and protected from deportation after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the island, claiming up to 316,000 lives and displacing more than 1.5 million people. TPS has been routinely renewed for Haiti ever since.

“…DHS said that the decision to terminate TPS for Haiti was made after ‘a review of the conditions upon which the country's original designation were based and whether those extraordinary but temporary conditions prevented Haiti from adequately handling the return of their nationals, as required by statute.’ 

“…Haitians with TPS will be required to reapply for employment authorization documents to legally work in the United States beyond January 2018. They may also seek an alternative lawful immigration status before their TPS runs out in July 2019.

“…‘As TPS expires for various countries, key employees that have been with the organization for years could be without work authorization and employers could have to fill unanticipated vacancies,’ said Lynn Shotwell, executive director of the Council for Global Immigration, an advocacy organization supporting workforce mobility and employment-based immigration based in Alexandria, Va… 

“…Employers may not even know if they have TPS recipients in their workforce but need to be mindful of antidiscrimination provisions of immigration law. Employers should not attempt to determine who is or is not a TPS recipient by looking at employment verification records or making inquiries if workers have not volunteered that information, Shotwell said. Neither should employers terminate employees merely in anticipation that they may lose their work authorization at a future date.

“‘If your organization has known TPS recipients, it is reasonable to do workforce planning around how those positions will be filled if those employees lose work authorization,’ Shotwell said.”

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