Haiti Quake

Temporary asylum for Haitians

2010-01-20 10:16

Special Report

Clinging to faith in Haiti
Clinging to faith in Haiti

There is not much left of the city's numerous churches, beside crosses and the occasional surviving stained glass window...

SLIDESHOW: Haiti suffers aftershock
SLIDESHOW: Haiti suffers aftershock

See our slideshow detailing the latest news from Haiti in pictures and sound.

Washington - Up to 200 000 Haitians living in the United States may be eligible to obtain temporary asylum following the massive earthquake that devastated their country one week ago, a senior US official said on Tuesday.

"Our preliminary estimate is between 100 000 and 200 000 people," said Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), told AFP.

The US government on Friday offered Haitians living in the United States without proper immigration documents protection under a programme known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

A person with TPS status can be in the country for 18 months without fear of deportation, and following a review of their case, can obtain a temporary work permit.

The immigration chief however warned that only Haitians living in the United States before the earthquake struck are eligible.

Those who try to enter the country illegally "will not succeed and they will be repatriated", Mayorkas said.

Some 1.2 million Haitian immigrants currently live legally in the United States.

TPS requests will be received starting on Thursday, said Mayorkas, who on Wednesday will be in Miami to meet members of the Haitian community to explain the application process.

The Immigration Services office will hold similar events in other US cities with large Haitian communities such as New York and Orlando, Florida.

Mayorkas said that his office opened a new webpage in English and French to explain the process, and was preparing to handle an expected flood of applications.

Those who cannot afford the $130 application fee - $470 for those seeking a work permit - can ask for a fee waiver, said Mayorkas.

Separately, a south Florida member of Congress returned from a visit to Haiti on Tuesday and said he wants to personally inform President Barack Obama of what he saw.

Congressman Kendrick Meek represents a district that includes a section of Miami known as "Little Haiti", where many Haitians live.

He is the first member of the US Congress to visit Haiti after the earthquake, and said he wants to give Obama "a first hand account of what I saw in the last two days".

Communications and security issues would top his agenda in any talks with the president, Meeks said.

"You can't get a full appreciation" of the devastation "unless you walk down the streets of Port-au-Prince, into the neighbourhoods downtown. I think it's important that the people who make the decision have the full appreciation of what's happening," Meeks said.

"If the right decisions are not made right now it's going to make this recovery process a lot more difficult. And we will see the first effects of the international failure to meet the need of these very desperate individuals," he added.


Read more on:    us  |  haiti  |  haiti earthquake


Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.