US Bans Haiti, Belize and Samoa from Temporary Visas

The U.S. has revoked eligibility for temporary agricultural and seasonal work visas for nationals of Haiti, Belize and Samoa, according to a notice posted Wednesday in the Federal Register.

An announcement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Thursday 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 reports that Haitians in the United States using non-immigrant visas had an overstay rate of 39 percent in 2016.

The department said the nations had a high rate of fraud, abuse and people overstaying their visa's time limits.

Just a few dozen immigrants from Haiti use H-2A and H-2B visas each year, according to DHS data.

Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the non-partisan Center for Global Development, told NBC News that hundreds of Haitians get visas to the United States through these seasonal and agricultural visas because it is the best option for them. The island nation was added to the list of countries whose citizens are allowed to apply for the visas in 2010 after a powerful 7.0 magnitude natural disaster destroyed the country, according to The Hill.

"Even though not many people have been able to avail themselves of it, it's been hugely transformational for those who have participated".

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The controversial comment came during a heated discussion on the future of immigration policy between Republican and Democrat lawmakers in the Oval Office, where Trump questioned why the US would continue to take in immigrants from poor countries.

But, in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Trump praised Haitians. There's a tremendous warmth.

'And they're very hard-working people'. The number of Haitians who came into the country with nonagricultural visas was not disclosed by the government.

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.

'These guys were awesome.

'We've changed or impacted communities in Haiti'. Other temporary work visas require higher levels of skill and education.

  • Sonia Alvarado