Biden Reinstates Haiti in Guest Worker Visa Programs, Reversing Trump-Era Decision Amid Concerns Over Stay Overrun

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The Biden administration on Wednesday decided to reinstate Haiti on the list of countries eligible for two guest worker visa programs, reversing its withdrawal from the Trump era due to more extended stays and cases of fraud and that the Biden administration says “remains a concern.”

In a notice published in the Federal Register, the Department of Homeland Security said it was adding Haiti to the list of countries eligible for the H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural workers and the H-2B visa program for temporary agricultural workers. seasonal non-farm workers – and cited its acceptance of its own deported nationals as a reason for displacement.

UN EXPERTS CRITICIZE US FOR DEPORTATION OF HATIAN MIGRANTS, ALLEGING “RACIALIZED EXCLUSION”

Migrants are released from United States Border Patrol custody at a humanitarian center Wednesday, September 22, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. (AP Photo / Julio Cortez)

“The government of Haiti has been a valuable partner and has consistently cooperated to accept the return of its nationals subject to a final deportation order that has gone almost without interruption throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. , despite the political, environmental and economic challenges facing Haiti. , indicates the notice.

The advisory also asserted that Haiti’s admission “serves the interests of the United States and is consistent with government-wide efforts to address the root causes of irregular migration and create legal avenues for safe, orderly and legal migration ”.

DHS said adding Haiti to the list “will provide Haitians with the opportunity not only to contribute to the U.S. economy, but also to apply their income and technical experience to advance reconstruction and stabilization. of Haiti ”.

The Biden administration blamed the root causes, such as poverty, corruption and violence, for the huge spike in illegal migration to the border under its watch. More than 1.7 million migrants were encountered during fiscal year 2021. In September, the administration faced an influx of Haitian nationals at the border, thousands of people gathered under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas.

DHS EXEMPTS AFGHAN EVACUATES FROM IMMIGRATION FEES, SPEEDS UP TREATMENT

The Trump administration removed Haiti from the list of countries eligible for both visa programs in 2018, with DHS declaring that “Haitian nationals applying for H-2A and H-2B visas have extremely high refusal rates, and those Issued H -2A or H-2B visas have historically demonstrated high levels of fraud and abuse and a high rate of exceeding the conditions for their H-2 admission. “

The Biden administration said it shares concerns about extended stays, but believes the benefits outweigh those concerns.

“While some factors, including the nonimmigrant visa overrun and refusal rates that precipitated Haiti’s withdrawal from the H-2A and H-2B programs in 2018, remain a concern, the favorable factors here above in the interests of the United States outweigh these concerns, ”the notice said.

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The Biden administration had granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian immigrants in May, given security concerns, poverty and human rights violations in the country.

In Wednesday’s notice, the administration also added Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic, Mauritius and Saint Lucia to the list of eligible countries – while removing Moldova as it no longer meets regulatory standards.

About Eleanor Blackburn

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