Haitian storm refugees seek immigrant deal

Oct. 13, 2008 at 1:09 PM

MIAMI, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Florida immigrant advocates want victims of recent devastating Haitian storms to be allowed into the United States under "temporary protected status."

Haitian President Rene Preval also has asked U.S. officials for the designation, aimed at relieving the suffering of 850,000 people displaced by four tropical storms and hurricanes in recent months, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Monday.

So far, however, the Bush administration has not acted on the request, and some Haitians who left their Caribbean island homeland have been detained in the United States, the newspaper said. Advocates in Miami say they hope "TPS" status will be extended to the Haitians as it was to 300,000 Honduran, Nicaraguan and Salvadoran nationals who have been allowed to stay in United States for years after natural disasters struck their countries.

Immigration opponents, however, say the fact that those immigrants are still in the United States is proof such visas aren't "temporary."

"The reason we don't (support the move) is that there's no 'T' in TPS," Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, which advocates reduced immigration, told the Sun-Sentinel.

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