On the heels of his disgusting comments in which he called Haiti, among other nations, a “shithole country,” Trump has taken his disdain for the island in the Caribbean to a new low tonight.
Trump’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has officially removed Haiti from its list of countries whose citizens can apply for low-skilled work visas. Their justification for the rescission is “high levels of fraud and abuse,” claiming that Haitians engaged in a “high rate of overstaying the terms” of their visas.
The move, of course, is largely symbolic – albeit hateful – given that only several dozen Haitians have entered the United States on H-2A and H-2B visas. In other words, rather than amend relations with the nation after his denigrating comment, he instead opted to take action that served as an international slap in the face, even though the move has barely any significant tangible “benefit” for the administration.
Haitians were added to the list of countries eligible to benefit from the visa program after a devastating earthquake struck the island in 2010. It was a major lifeline for Haiti after the natural disaster killed more than 200,000 people.
“They’re just cutting off the most economically beneficial visa for the Haitian people,” said Sarah Williamson, founder of PTP Consulting, a Virginia-based consultancy that ran a pilot program to bring Haitians to the United States on the visas. “Even though not many people have been able to avail themselves of it, it’s been hugely transformational for those who have participated.”
Trump may have promised that he never insulted Haiti during his closed-door meeting, but his actions tonight speak louder than his words ever will.