Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Border & Immigration

After Hurricane, Activists Request Renewed Immigration Protections For Haitians

This UNICEF photo shows the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Port au Prince, Haiti, Oct. 4, 2016.
UNICEF
This UNICEF photo shows the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Port au Prince, Haiti, Oct. 4, 2016.

After Hurricane, Activists Request Renewed Immigration Protections For Haitians
As Hurricane Matthew displaces thousands of Haitians, San Diego immigrant rights groups say the U.S. should renew humanitarian parole provisions canceled two weeks ago amid an immigration influx through San Ysidro.

After Hurricane Matthew proved catastrophic in Haiti, immigrant rights groups are asking the U.S. government to reconsider a recent decision to revoke humanitarian parole for Haitian newcomers.

Advertisement

“Haiti was not ready to receive deportees before the hurricane. And now we have the biggest hurricane that’s hit the island in 50 years," said Hiram Soto, communications director for Alliance San Diego.

The hurricane displaced thousands of people, caused several deaths and destroyed homes across Haiti less than two weeks after the U.S. announced that improved conditions in Haiti meant Haitians were no longer going to receive special immigration protections.

The Department of Homeland Security decision came amid an unparalleled influx of Haitians at the U.S.-Mexico border, mostly through San Ysidro. Since May, thousands of Haitians have entered the U.S. after journeying north through Latin America from Brazil, where most were living after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Haitians interviewed by KPBS before the hurricane said they could not return to Haiti because of high crime rates and lack of basic health and education services.

Advertisement

The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, a project of Alliance San Diego, issued a statement calling on the government to "immediately reinstate" former immigration protections.

"Having a hurricane of this magnitude hit the island in the way it did and causing the devastation it did should be more than common sense to take this in consideration," Soto said.

Explore all national, state and local returns now.