About 1,000 people lost their lives and survivors were left to rebuild and recover once more.
And many have children who were born in the USA, making those children US citizens.
In 2017 alone, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services conducted extensive outreach to the Haitian communities throughout the country.
But the Department of Homeland Security has accompanied their decree with a sunnier picture of conditions in Haiti. But DHS officials ultimately made a decision to extend the immigration for another 18 months to give Haiti's government more time to prepare for the return of residents who were forced to leave the country.
The decision to end TPS for Haitians is part of Mr Trump's broader efforts to tighten restrictions on immigration, and comes despite calls from even some fellow Republicans to continue the relief. There are also thousands of Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, Dominicans, and other groups from the Caribbean and Central America who are here under TPS protections, and the Trump administration is trying to shake them off the mainland, too.
At least 60 days before TPS is set to expire, the Homeland Security secretary must review the conditions for the status designation and decide if protection is still warranted.
The 18-month window is meant to give Haitians time to prepare to leave the US or to seek an alternate legal immigration status. While Hurricane Irma largely skirted Haiti this year, it hit southern Florida hardest, which is home to thousands of Haitian TPS recipients. "After all of this time, no conceivable goal is served by upending all of that and ordering them to return to some of the most unsafe and precarious countries on earth".
Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said, "We're relieved there is an extension of TPS for 18 months, but we remain concerned that Haiti won't be ready to take back 58,000 Haitians across the USA and 5,800 here in Massachusetts". Meanwhile, those who stayed in Haiti are anxious about what will happen to fragile Haitian economy when this decision dents the money sent home from the mainland, which accounts for an estimated 25% of Haiti's GDP.
"With Donald Trump and his administration's, along with his supporters', bigoted and relentless assault on immigrants around the country, it is more important than ever to protect those people in our communities who are most vulnerable to these attacks", said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. Kelly, now White House chief of staff, visited Haiti shortly after that initial announcement and later joined Vice President Mike Pence for a meeting in Miami with Haitian President Jovenel Moise. Thinking about the Haitian TPS population in Massachusetts, Healey said, "I think about the fear, I think about the anxiety and I think about how unnecessary all of this is, and it's why I stood up along with others in advocating for the extension of TPS". "In the midst of rebuilding and revitalizing its overall infrastructure, large influxes of nationals will disrupt and negatively impact the nation's path towards recovery", Opal Tometi, BAJI's executive director and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, said in a statement. And on Thanksgiving Day, the only right decision is to extend our welcome to the Haitians.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has made immigration enforcement a core part of his pitch in his run for governor, is criticizing his ally Donald Trump, charging that the White House failed a "big test" on immigration by moving too slowly to end special deportation protections for almost 60,000 Haitians.
Authors Information: Karen DeYoung is associate editor and senior national security correspondent for the Washington Post.