Haitians will no longer be eligible for temporary agricultural and seasonal visas in the U.S. following a new regulatory filing from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The announcement, published Thursday, has noted that citizens of Haiti, as well as Belize and Samoa, will be prohibited from applying for the temporary H-2A and H-2B visas.
DHS publishes a list of eligible countries annually. This year, 83 countries are included in the list, but Haiti is noticeably absent.
In the filing, DHS justifies the move by noting that Haitian nationals “present extremely high rates of refusal” and “have historically demonstrated high levels of fraud and abuse and a high rate of overstaying the terms of their H-2 admission.” Haiti has reportedly not demonstrated improvement in these areas of concern. However, the justification provides no evidence or statistics to back the claim.
As conversations around immigration have taken the spotlight in recent weeks, the administration will likely come under scrutiny for this decision. Only a few hundred Haitians are granted an H-2 visa each year, and this visa category is often the only recourse available to Haitian nationals hoping to enter the U.S. legally.
The change also comes just a week after Trump reportedly questioned why the U.S. would want to have immigrants from “shithole” countries like Haiti and African nations in an Oval Office meeting, and two months after the administration decided to end Temporary Protected Status for the close to 60,000 Haitians who are legally living in the U.S. since the country’s 2010 earthquake.