Haitians could be deported if they don't leave U.S. by July 2019

NEW YORK -- There was unease Tuesday night in many Haitian neighborhoods from New York to Florida after the Trump administration said it's canceling a humanitarian program that has allowed thousands of Haitians to live in the U.S., and they could be deported if they don't leave by July of 2019.

On Tuesday, Haitians protested the Trump administration's decision to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly 60,000.

"My mom felt like it wasn't a safe space for me and my sister to stay, so she decided to bring us here," Stephane Rony Casseus said.

Casseus, a 19-year-old Long Island resident, came here when he was 11 after a 2010 earthquake killed 300,000, including his father. He's now in college and has a job and pays taxes.

In September 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump spoke to a group of Haitians in Florida, promising to be their voice.

"The Haitian people deserve better and that's what I intend to give them," Mr. Trump told the crowd.

But now, many in the community feel betrayed.

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Stephane Rony Casseus, left

CBS News

New York assemblywoman Michaelle Solages' district has over 1,000 Haitians protected by TPS.

"They're our fellow New Yorkers so it hurts us to know that we're sending these people back to nothing," Solages said.

Casseus misses Haiti but said there's nothing there for him or his family.

"What am I gonna do in Haiti? There's nothing in Haiti," he said.

If 60,000 Haitians are forced to return to Haiti, the concern by some members of Congress is that a country devastated by an earthquake, disease and unemployment will not be able to take in those returning home.

APTOPIX Immigration Temporary Status Haiti

Immigration advocates rally in New York on Tue., Nov. 21, 2017, to protest the decision from the Department of Homeland Security to terminate Temporary Protected Status for people from Haiti. 

AP
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    Vladimir Duthiers is a CBS News correspondent based in New York at the CBS Broadcast Center.