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Now that the government has granted temporary protected status (TPS) for Haitians to stay and work legally in the U.S., applications have begun to roll in.
According to the Associated Press, more than 12,000 illegal Haitian immigrants have applied and paid for TPS legal status while their country is rebuilding its infrastructure from the devastating 7.0 earthquake.
Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of the Homeland Security Department, is being flooded with applications. The official application deadline is July 20. Application fees to stay total $470.
As previously discussed, there are an estimated 100,000-200,000 illegal Haitians immigrants in the U.S. who could benefit from TPS status. The status grants the Haitians amnesty for 18 months without fear of deportation or detention.
Since the Jan. 12 earthquake, many advocates and immigrants rights groups have been pushing for temporary protected status. However, several scams targeting Haitians attempting to bring family members from Haiti to the U.S. have emerged.
The U.S. Embassy in Haiti reports on its website that scammers have posed as workers for the U.S. Consulate to lure desperate Haitians and Haitian-Americans, as previously discussed. Victims have been asked to provide at least $500 in fees in exchange for documents that will allow them to bypass the usual government process and bring family members to the U.S.
The government expects that applications for real TPS will keep coming in. In addition, the U.S. has suspended deportations of Haitians, but continues to repatriate those intercepted on the sea.
Among the other countries which have received TPS designations are El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Somalia and Sudan.