The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has removed Haiti from a list of countries whose citizens are permitted to apply for low-skilled work visas, less than a week after President Donald Trump reportedly called Haiti ‘a s***hole country.’
Reuters news agency reported the removal on Wednesday night.
In a regulatory filing, DHS cited “high levels of fraud and abuse” from Haitians who use the program as well as a “high rate of overstaying the terms” from the visa recipients.
According to the report visa overstays among Haitians in the 2016 fiscal year were around 40 percent, the DHS reported last year.
Haiti was among countries added to the list of countries whose residents are eligible to apply for low-skilled work visas after a 2010 earthquake devastated the country. However, according to Reuters, DHS data shows just a few dozen immigrants from Haiti use H-2A and H-2B visas each year.
H-2A and H-2B visas are given to seasonal workers in agriculture and other industries.
Reuters published an interview earlier on Wednesday in which Trump defended his relationship with Haiti and its people.
“I love the people. There’s a tremendous warmth,” he said. “And they’re very hard-working people.”