SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning - Fire Weather Watch View Alerts

Trump admin blocks Haitians from temporary visas

The Department of Homeland Security will stop allowing Haitians to get temporary agricultural and seasonal visas -- a...

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 9:03 AM
Updated: Jan 18, 2018 9:03 AM

The Department of Homeland Security will stop allowing Haitians to get temporary agricultural and seasonal visas -- a move that comes amid concerns about the Trump administration's feelings toward immigrants of that country and broader restrictions on legal immigration.

The announcement to be published in the Federal Register on Thursday will remove Haiti from a list of countries that are eligible for the visas, called the H-2A agricultural and the H-2B non-agricultural temporary permits.

DHS already ended Temporary Protected Status for Haiti

Only roughly 80 countries are eligible for the temporary worker programs

Roughly 80 countries are eligible for the temporary worker programs, and the list is published every year. While it's unusual, countries are removed from the list at times. Haiti is being removed along with Belize and Samoa.

The decision to exclude Haiti may raise questions because it comes in the wake of the administration's decision to end Temporary Protected Status for nearly 60,000 Haitians who have been living and working legally in the US since the country's devastating earthquake in 2010.

And it comes after President Donald Trump's disparaging remarks last week regarding immigrants of African nations and Haiti became public.

In its notice, DHS justifies the decision for each country. Belize is being excluded because it is included by the US on the list of countries that do not meet standards on human trafficking and are not making efforts to do so, the notice said. Samoa was removed because it does not take back its deported nationals from the US, an issue referred to as recalcitrant countries.

Haiti's justification, though, cites "extremely high rates of refusal," "high levels of fraud and abuse and a high rate of overstaying" their visas when they end. It did not provide any statistics or further evidence.

"Haiti has shown no improvement in these areas, and the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, that Haiti's inclusion on the 2018 H-2A and H-2B lists is no longer in the U.S. interest," the notice says.

Haiti does have a high rate of visa overstays, when immigrants continue to live in the US illegally beyond their work authorization, according to the most recent Entry/Exit Overstay Report from DHS. The country's nationals had a suspected overstay rate of just over 39% out of roughly 1,500 immigrants in 2016 in the temporary worker category.

Only a few hundred Haitians work specifically under the H-2 category in the US each year.

That rate is higher than other countries on the list of acceptable H-2 countries, though others have high rates as well, including Guatemala at over 28%, the Philippines at nearly 29%, Ethiopia at nearly 20% and Papua New Guinea at 20%. Other countries with higher rates were already not on the list.

Michael Clemens, a senior fellow who studies the economics of migration at the Center for Global Development, which advocates policies to reduce global poverty, said the H-2 visas were virtually the only legal way for Haitians to work in the US besides Temporary Protected Status, and taking them away could drive illegal migration.

Clemens also said that based on his research on the profit for businesses on products and services the Haitian temporary workers produce, he estimates each worker contributes $4,000 to the US economy per month, and $3,000 to the Haitian economy per month.

Clemens added that while he has no evidence that Trump's remarks and the visa move are linked, the timing is troubling.

"The administration has made it clear that it sees no benefit from Haitian immigrants in the US, and that's incorrect. There has been a tremendous benefit from Haitian migrants to the US, including on this particular visa," Clemens said. "No doubt that it's a pile-on."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 883746

Reported Deaths: 17055
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2900096912
Riverside646681273
San Bernardino606211028
Orange573731412
San Diego53000857
Kern33497410
Fresno30152430
Sacramento24582471
Santa Clara23458382
Alameda22807433
San Joaquin21196484
Contra Costa18214236
Stanislaus17354393
Tulare17206276
Ventura13930160
Imperial12534335
San Francisco11937133
Monterey1111783
San Mateo10889157
Santa Barbara9641119
Merced9375152
Sonoma9016134
Kings817383
Solano717174
Marin7030127
Madera492073
San Luis Obispo404932
Placer401255
Yolo308656
Butte302651
Santa Cruz272223
Napa189214
Sutter181912
Shasta178629
San Benito140714
El Dorado12904
Yuba127810
Mendocino110421
Tehama7938
Lassen7571
Lake67315
Glenn6423
Nevada5908
Humboldt5589
Colusa5476
Calaveras33317
Amador31316
Tuolumne2554
Inyo21815
Siskiyou1850
Del Norte1751
Mono1752
Mariposa782
Plumas540
Modoc270
Trinity230
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 59°
Oroville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 61°
Paradise
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 59°
Chester
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 35°
Red Bluff
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 74°
Willows
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 59°
Tuesday was another sunny and unseasonably warm to hot day for much of northern California. It was much like Monday, except the wind was stronger, and the wind will be much stronger through much of the next week.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events