DHS to bar Haiti from temporary agricultural, seasonal worker visas

By Daniel Uria  |  Jan. 17, 2018 at 11:57 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The Department of Homeland Security plans to block Haiti and two other countries from applying for temporary and seasonal visas.

The announcement set to be published in the Federal Register Thursday will remove Haiti, Belize and Samoa from the list of countries eligible for H-2A agricultural and H-2B non-agricultural temporary permits.

The list is published annually and features 83 countries eligible for H-2A visas and 82 eligible for H-2B visas.

Haiti was removed from the list due to "extremely high rates of refusal" and "high levels of fraud and abuse and a high rate of overstaying" after visas end, according to the announcement.

"Haiti has shown no improvement in these areas, and the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, that Haiti's inclusion on the 2018 H-2A and H-2B lists is no longer in the U.S. interest," the announcement said.

The country's nationals had a suspected overstay rate of more than 39 percent out of roughly 1,500 immigrants in 2016 in the temporary worker category, according to CNN.

Belize was excluded due to it status as a Tier 3 country on the U.S. Department of State's 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, meaning it doesn't meet standards on human trafficking and isn't making an effort to do so.

The DHS said Samoa was removed because it is "at risk of non-compliance" after refusing to take back nationals deported from the United States.

The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump made disparaging comments about Haiti, El Salvador and African nations during an Oval Office meeting.

Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the non-partisan Center for Global Development, said making Haitians ineligible for the H-2 visas eliminates the only U.S. work visa almost everyone in Haiti can apply to receive.

"The administration has made it clear that it sees no benefit from Haitian immigrants in the US, and that's incorrect. There has been a tremendous benefit from Haitian migrants to the US, including on this particular visa," Clemens said.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories