US Homeland Security Chief to Visit Haiti

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is visiting Haiti on Wednesday for discussions on international cooperation.

Kelly is to meet with Haitian government officials including President Jovenel Moïse, the department’s website said in a Tuesday evening post. Talks also will cover “issues related to repatriation, as well as efforts to build Haiti’s maritime law enforcement capacity, and to encourage cooperation between the Dominican Republic and Haiti’s nascent border security unit.”

The notice did not say when Kelly would arrive. His visit is expected to span four hours, primarily spent on the grounds of the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, the Miami Herald and Haitian news outlets are reporting.

Kelly’s visit comes just over a week after Homeland Security announced a humanitarian aid program for Haitians temporarily living in the United States would be limited to a six-month extension. Haitian authorities, some U.S. lawmakers and immigration advocates had sought a longer term. Previous renewals had been for 18 months.

About 58,000 Haitian immigrants are registered for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), offered in the wake of a deadly 2010 earthquake in Haiti. It permits those visiting the United States at the time of the quake to work and live there. TPS was set to expire July 23 and has been extended through January 22.

In making his announcement, Kelly said the six-month period “should allow Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure” and give the Haitian government sufficient time “to prepare for the future repatriation of all current TPS recipients.”

Haiti’s government had sought at least another year.

The Herald reported that Kelly also was expected to meet with the head of the U.N. mission to Haiti, Sandra Honoré. The United Nations announced in April that it would end its peacekeeping role in mid-April. Honoré said the country had made sufficient progress toward stabilization.

Kelly is not expected to visit other parts of the Caribbean nation, which were buffeted last October by a hurricane and by subsequent flooding. That led to water contamination and a resurgence of cholera cases.

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