The Obama administration is preparing to handle applications from as many as 200,000 undocumented Haitian immigrants who want to live and work legally in the United States under a new immigration program unveiled last week in the aftermath of Haiti's destructive earthquake.
The federal government will begin accepting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) applications on Thursday, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas, whose agency will process the paperwork.
Mayorkas was in Miami Wednesday to meet with local immigrant aid groups to South Florida to talk about the daunting task of handling the likely blizzard of applications from Haitians seeking the opportunity to remain in the United States.
Administration officials approved TPS for Haitians last week as part of an effort to help Haiti recover from the earthquake that left an estimated 200,000 people dead and about 1.5 million homeless.
The TPS designation is reserved for selected undocumented migrants from countries disrupted by natural disasters, armed conflicts or other emergencies.