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Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

The Trump administration may be using the criminal status of Haitian immigrants as part of its decision on whether to extend a program designed to allow safe harbor for those affected by the 2010 Haitian earthquake, per internal emails obtained by the AP.

The program: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) — a branch of Homeland Security — can grant "Temporary Protected Status" to immigrants, legal or illegal, from countries affected by war or disaster, allowing them to remain in the U.S. indefinitely. There are currently 50,000 Haitian immigrants in the U.S. under the TPS designation.

Why it matters: In the past, the decision to extend a TPS designation was based solely on whether conditions in that country had improved; USCIS' acting director recommended last month that the program could expire, stating that Haiti's humanitarian crisis had ended despite its political instability. But the Trump administration's apparent willingness to consider the actions of a few wrongdoers to decide the humanitarian future of tens of thousands is a marked departure from prior U.S. policy.

We should also find any reports of criminal activity by any individual with TPS. Even though it's only a snapshot and not representative of the entire situation, we need more than 'Haiti is really poor' stories. Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, the USCIS head of policy and strategy

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.

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