January 18, 2018


Trump administration bars Haitians from U.S. visas for low-skilled work (Yeganeh Torbati, 1/18/18, Reuters) 

Haitians will no longer be eligible for U.S. visas given to low-skilled workers, the Trump administration said on Wednesday, bringing an end to a small-scale effort to employ Haitians in the United States after a catastrophic 2010 earthquake. [...]

Humanitarian groups and Republican and Democratic members of Congress lobbied the Obama administration to make Haiti eligible for the short-term worker visas, arguing that remittances to family in Haiti would help the country recover from the earthquake. Without H-2A and H-2B visas, there are few legal avenues for most Haitians to go to the United States.

"The post-earthquake reconstruction efforts ignored migration and remittances entirely," said Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development who was heavily involved in the efforts to allow Haitian workers to come to the United States. "We saw it as an opportunity to help Haiti rebuild after the earthquake."

The Obama administration added Haiti to the list of approved countries in 2012, and PTP Consulting stepped in to screen and match Haitian workers with farmers in the United States.

In countries with more experience sending workers to the United States, such as Jamaica, the home-country government typically does much of that work and regulates the H-2A process heavily, Williamson said.

Jon Hegeman, who operates a commercial greenhouse in Alabama, brought in eight Haitian H-2A workers in 2015 through the consultancy, and nine workers in 2016.

Before Hegeman hired Haitians, his business had trouble finding local workers. Within a three-month period, they went through 300 people for eight positions, he said. When he was approached by PTP to participate in the program, he agreed.

"These guys were awesome. They worked hard, you see a smile on their face every day," said Hegeman, who as the child of a missionary was born and largely raised in the Dominican Republic, which neighbors Haiti. "We've changed or impacted communities in Haiti."

Posted by at January 18, 2018 8:48 AM


« STILL GOT THAT 14% CORE!: | Main | BINGO!: »