Hurricane Matthew's destruction in Haitihas put on hold a new policy of deporting Haitianswho are inthe United States without permission butthe government intends to return to it in the future,U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson saidTuesday.
Speaking inMexico City where he held talks withCabinet officials on border, migration andsecurity issues, Johnson noted that someflightsto Haitihave been suspended in the wake of the storm, which has killed hundreds of people.
"We willhave to deal withthat situation, addressit, be sympathetic to the plight of the people ofHaiti asa result of the hurricane,"he said. "But after that situation, after that conditionhas been addressed, we intend to resume the policy change that I brought about several weeks ago."
The United States stoppeddeporting Haitiansafter the Caribbean country was hit by a devastatingearthquake in 2010, freeing them on humanitarian parole instead. But onSept. 21, Homeland Security began putting Haitiansin detention facilities asa preludeto sendingthem home.
The idea behind thenew practice was that "Haitianmigrants who come to our country illegally would be treatedlike immigrantsfrom just about every other country who enteredour country illegally," Johnson said.
Thousands of Haitians have been arriving at Tijuana, Mexico,in recent weeks hoping to crossinto the United States, creatinga migratory logjam at the border. They havealso overwhelmed Mexican migrant shelters whilethey wait,with many of them sleepingoutside on sheetsof cardboard.
Mexican Interior Secretary MiguelAngel Osorio Chong said the Haitian migrants were asubject of talkswith Johnson and it wasMexico'sresponsibility to try to improve their conditionswhile they are in the country.
He also expressed hope that the United States, whichhas beenprocessing only about 75Haitian migrants perday at the San Ysidro crossingin SanDiego, may be able to speed that up.
"Very possibly (their numbers)may rise following the hurricane'spassage," Osorio Chong said.