Trump admin. moves to bar Haitians from agricultural, seasonal worker visas

Elias Hubbard
January 18, 2018

The Trump administration is moving to ban Haitian immigrants from applying for seasonal and farm work visas in the US, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday night, just days after the president reportedly used a vulgar slur to describe the country last week.

DHS noted "high levels of fraud and abuse" by Haitians and their "high rate of overstaying the terms" of their visas for its decision announced late Wednesday. This year, 83 countries are included in the list, but Haiti is noticeably absent.

The announcement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) comes less than a week after the President reportedly referred to Haiti and states in Africa as 's***hole countries' during a meeting on immigration in the Oval Office, sparking worldwide outrage and condemnation.

Haitians will no longer be eligible for temporary agricultural and seasonal visas in the USA following a new regulatory filing from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Haitians in the United States on a number of non-immigrant visas, including those cited by DHS, had an overstay rate of 39 percent in 2016, the department said.

Supporters of the visas say they gave Haitians a rare opportunity to work legally in the United States, contribute to the US economy and help fund the recovery of Haiti after a major natural disaster in 2010, which killed more than 200,000 people.

Belize was dropped over concerns about human trafficking while Samoa was excluded because it was not taking back deported nationals. It also comes in the wake of the Trump administration's decision to end Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for about 50,000 Haitians in July 2019.

Approximately 40 percent of Haitians overstayed on a variety of non-immigrant US visas, including H-2As and H-2Bs, in the 2016 fiscal year, according to a DHS report. The H-2A visa is for agriculture and the H-2B is for non-agricultural seasonal work in places such as resorts.

"They're just cutting off the most economically beneficial visa for the Haitian people", Sarah Williamson, founder of a Virginia firm that spearheaded the program told Reuters.

Trump has repeatedly denied making the comment and he praised the people of Haiti in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday.

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 U.S. economy per month, and $3,000 to the Haitian economy per month.

'I love the people. "What's incredibly clear is the administration and its staffers in Haiti have a broad-based policy of massively slashing legal immigration opportunities". "There has been a tremendous benefit from Haitian migrants to the United States, including on this particular visa", Clemens said. "And they're very hard-working people", he said. There has been a tremendous benefit from Haitian migrants to the U.S., including on this particular visa.

'The post-earthquake reconstruction efforts ignored migration and remittances entirely, ' said Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development who was heavily involved in the efforts to allow Haitian workers to come to the United States.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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