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Haitians can stay in U.S. extra 18 months

  |   Sept. 25, 2012 at 12:24 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Earthquake-displaced Haitians will be allowed to stay in the United States for another 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security has announced.

The decision Tuesday by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will allow about 60,000 Haitian citizens to remain in the United States until July 2014, The Miami Herald reported.

Haitian activists welcomed the decision, but complained that discrimination and double standards against Haitians would continue.

Marleine Bastien, founder of Haitian Women of Miami, said Haitian students who arrived in the United States after the January 2010 earthquake are prevented from going to college by the high out-of-state-tuitions. Some in nursing school are unable to take nursing exams because of their designation by the U.S. government as "temporary protected status."

Bastien said Haitians continue to be deported despite the sluggish economy there and a continuing cholera epidemic.

Immigration activist Steve Forester said that some Haitian immigrants have waited up to 11 years to be approved to reunite in the United States with family members who are U.S. citizens or who have legal resident status.

DHS says there 112,000 Haitians in such situations, about 15,800 of whom are minors.

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