Statement from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano:
"As part of the Department's ongoing efforts to assist Haiti following Tuesday's devastating earthquake, I am announcing the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months. Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration's continuing efforts to support Haiti's recovery.
"At this moment of tragedy in Haiti it is tempting for people suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake to seek refuge elsewhere. But attempting to leave Haiti now will only bring more hardship to the Haitian people and nation. The international community has rallied to deliver relief to Haiti. Much has already arrived and much more is on its way. The Haitians are resilient and determined and their role in addressing this crisis in their homeland will be essential to Haiti's future.
"It is important to note that TPS will apply only to those individuals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated.
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"The Department of Homeland Security continues to extend sympathy to our Haitian neighbors and support the worldwide relief effort underway in every way we can. Four Coast Guard cutters have arrived in Haiti, in addition to a variety of Coast Guard assets that were already in the area to support military air traffic control, conduct damage assessments and rescue people in need of assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department - the lead U.S. federal agencies in the response - while coordinating the deployment of state and local Urban Search and Rescue Teams from across the country to Haiti and standing by to provide food, water and other resources as requested. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has provided aircraft to support response efforts.
"Haitians in the U.S. who are eligible to apply for TPS should go to www.uscis.gov or call USCIS toll-free at (800) 375-5283."