Less than a week after President Donald Trump provoked international outrage by reportedly referring to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as" shithole" countries, the Department of Homeland Security is under fire for pushing the president's "racist anti-Haitian immigrant agenda" by specifically barring Haitians from applying for certain temporary work visas.
This administration’s racist anti Haitian immigrant agenda is real. Please stay vigilant and support our kin. https://t.co/tGZxDtPXZH
— Opal Tometi (@opalayo) January 18, 2018
The department announced in a regulatory filing that starting Thursday, Haiti, Belize, and Samoa would be removed from the list of more than 80 countries whose citizens can apply for H-2A and H-2B visas, which are often used by seasonal farm or hotel workers, including at Trump's properties.
— Amanda Baran (@abaran76) January 18, 2018
DHS, citing high levels of fraud, justified the move by claiming that Haiti's participation in the program "is no longer in the U.S. interest."
Sarah Williamson, whose consultancy firm ran a pilot program to bring Haitians to the United States on seasonal work visas, told Reuters that although only a few dozen Haitians have used the visas each year since Haiti was added to the list, with this move, the Trump administration is "cutting off the most economically beneficial visa for the Haitian people."
"Even though not many people have been able to avail themselves of it," Williamson said, "it's been hugely transformational for those who have participated."
The visa decision follows recent moves by Trump's DHS to end protections for Haitians, Salvadorans, and Nicaraguans in the federal government's Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, which allows foreigners impacted by armed conflicts or natural disasters to legally live and work in the United States.
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Advocates for immigrant rights, politicians, and experts decried the visa decision on Twitter:
This administration’s racist and anti-Black agenda strikes again.
“Haitian farmers and other laborers seeking to come to the United States as temporary, seasonal workers under the federal H-2A and H-2B guest worker program, will no longer be eligible.”https://t.co/FSPB6GCWG6
— UndocuBlack Network (@UndocuBlack) January 18, 2018
This latest attack comes after the Trump Administration callously decided to end Haiti’s #TPS designation. "Champion" of Haitians, he is not.
— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) January 17, 2018
The White House just banned all Haitians from receiving visas for low-skill work in the United States. https://t.co/eFieeJBW3c@HPostel and I estimate that each Haitian worker we studied on this visa added $4,000 of value to the U.S. economy per month. https://t.co/0GrZbK246l
— Michael Clemens (@m_clem) January 17, 2018