>> Donald Trump drew accusations of racism and sparked outrage among Haitians after he reportedly questioned why the US should take immigrants from that country and African nations, referring to them as, quote, shithole countries. Trump denied using the term, but on Wednesday his administration announced Haitians would no longer be eligible for US work visas given to unskilled laborers.
Haitians had been able to apply for the H-2A Visa for agricultural work and the H-2B Visa for non-agricultural labor following that nation's devastating earthquake. The Department of Homeland Security announced Haitians would no longer be eligible, but the move may be largely symbolic. Because the number of Visas issued to Haitians through the program was very, very small.
Just 65 Haitians entered the US on H2A Visas in 2016, according to government data. Another 54 were granted Visas by the State Department between March and November last year. The number of Haitians granted H2-B Visas in 2016 was greater than zero, but too low to report, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
DHS sited quote, fraud and abuse of the Visa programs, as reasons for stripping Haiti from the list of eligible countries. Supporters of the Visas said they gave Haitians a rare opportunity to work legally in the United States, contribute to the US economy and help fund the recovery of Haiti after the earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people.