One Year Later: Haitians facing return from US back home
January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
Haitians who took refuge with relatives in the United States after last year’s earthquake may be forced to return home or go underground, a refugee worker said. A year after the quake, about one million people are still living in tent cities and shantytowns around Port-au-Prince, and little rebuilding has been done. But US Immigration is granting few visa extensions for Haitian earthquake refugees. Under the rules, Haitians who were already in the US on Jan. 12, 2010, have a Tuesday deadline to apply for work permits. Those who arrived after the quake face the prospect of being forced to return immediately. Ninaj Raoul of Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees says few of the people in the group’s English classes are likely to go home. “Too many people are being left out in the cold,” Raoul said. “Obviously, these folks are not going to opt to go home to tents in Haiti right now.”
Stephanie Macon, 16, and her three sisters have been living with their grandfather in New York’s Brooklyn borough. They have already applied for a visa extension and been turned down.
They said the response they received told them they should not have enrolled in school. (upi)