"The environmental, social, and political conditions in Haiti have long prompted congressional interest in U.S. policy on Haitian migrants, particularly those attempting to reach the United States by boat. While some observers assert that such arrivals by Haitians are a breach in border security, others maintain that these Haitians are asylum seekers following a decades old practice of Haitians coming by boat without legal immigration documents. Migrant interdiction and mandatory detention are key components of U.S. policy toward Haitian migrants, but human rights advocates express concern that Haitians are not afforded the same treatment as other asylum seekers. The devastation caused last year by the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti led Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians in the United States at the time of the earthquake. The scale of humanitarian crisis-- estimated thousands of Haitians dead and collapse of the infrastructure in the capital city of Port au Prince--resulted in this TPS announcement. On May 17, 2011, Secretary Napolitano redesignated TPS for Haitians through January 22, 2013. The extension also enables eligible individuals who arrived up to one year after the earthquake in Haiti to receive TPS."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21349