The Importance of Encouraging Remittances

According to Dilip Ratha, the lead economist of the World Bank’s Migration and Remittances team, the decision to grant illegal Haitian immigrants temporary protected status (TPS) was the US’s biggest aid contribution to Haiti.

This allows the estimated 200,000 illegal immigrants in America to freely work without fear of deportation, earn money, and send it home through formal remittance channels.

Economists conservatively estimate that Haitian remittances before the earthquake amount to $1.5 billion, a figure that is likely to increase because remittances surge in times of hardship. It is also one of the quickest and most effective means to send aid.

Ratha criticizes the paradoxical efforts of the US and the Dominican Republic to increase border control in order to prevent an influx of Haitians.

Michael Clemens, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development, takes a more outspoken position, claiming that “leaving Haiti is the principal solution to poverty” and that “the US is actively blocking the most effective poverty reduction strategy for Haitians.”

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