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Haitian Immigrants in the United States

In recent decades, the United States has experienced a significant increase in the number of immigrants from Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. While just 5,000 Haitians lived in the United States in 1960, migrants from Haiti began arriving in larger numbers following the collapse of the Jean-Claude Duvalier dictatorship in the late 1980s. Beyond political instability, endemic poverty and natural disasters, including a devastating 2010 earthquake, have propelled migration to the United States, often by boat. In 2015, there were 676,000 Haitian immigrants in the United States, up from 587,000 in 2010; Haitians account for less than 2 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population.

The future for tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants remains unclear as the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation allowing them to remain in the United States is set to expire on January 22, 2018. The U.S. government swiftly added Haiti to the list of TPS designation countries after a 2010 earthquake that caused tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 1.5 million people. More than 58,000 Haitian immigrants already in the United States prior to the 2010 earthquake have been granted TPS, which provides work authorization and relief from deportation.