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A Reprieve for Haitians in the United States

Earlier this week, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano announced that the U.S. would extend Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to Haitians living here who have been affected by the earthquake of January, 2010. This extends both the length and the scope of the initial TPS designation to last an additional 18 months and to include Haitians who entered the U.S. after the earthquake (many of whom were evacuated by U.S. forces) and for whom returning to Haiti would endanger their personal safety.

TPS allows recipients to live and work legally in the United States. but does not put them on a path to legal permanent residency. About 48,000 Haitians had been approved for TPS after it was first designated in January, 2010, and it’s estimated that an additional 10,000 could receive it under this latest designation. 

Before the earthquake hit, there were more than half a million people of Haitian birth living in the U.S.  Let’s look at where they reside. As the map shows, Haitian-born residents of the United States are concentrated on the East Coast. Not surprisingly, given its proximity to Haiti, about half live in Florida. Metropolitan Miami alone has close to 200,000 Haitian-born according to the U.S. Census (others put the number much higher). Orlando and, to a lesser degree, Tampa, also have sizeable Haitian populations. New York is home to the second-largest population of Haitians among U.S .metro areas, with over 150,000. (See map and table here for top ten metro areas.)