US lawmakers seek immigration protections for Caribbean

MIAMI — A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants the U.S. government to extend humanitarian protections to parts of the Caribbean impacted by Hurricane Irma.

Haiti was granted temporary protected status after a 2010 earthquake, but the Trump administration has said those immigration benefits will expire in January. South Florida's congressional delegation and both the state's senators sent a letter Monday asking acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke to renew the program.

The lawmakers said damage caused by Irma exacerbates challenges Hurricane Matthew created last year.

Florida lawmakers also have joined a larger group of congressional representatives asking President Donald Trump to grant temporary protected status to immigrants from other Caribbean countries hit by Irma.

The status allows immigrants from countries experiencing armed conflict or environmental disasters to legally live and work here.

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