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Aug. 10th, 2004

*vomit* Horrible!
The volcano on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat had been slumbering for centuries when it awoke in 1995. Amid the banana groves and breadfruit trees of their tourist paradise, the islanders hoped that its eruptions would soon subside. Instead, within two years, 7,000 people - roughly two-thirds of the population - had to flee escalating explosions of rock, ash and toxic gas.
...
Since it was unsafe to send them back after their visitors' visas expired, the United States granted the Montserratians "temporary protected status," renewed year by year so they could legally stay and work until the worst was over.
Now, in a startling twist that reflects a major change in immigration politics, the Department of Homeland Security is ordering the 292 Montserratians to leave by the end of February - not because it is safe to go home again, but because it is not going to be safe anytime soon.
...
"That certainly would be a problem," said Keith Stone-Greaves, press officer for the local government, "given that housing is critical." He and his counterpart at the British government office on the island, Richard Aspin, agreed that the Homeland Security decision took everyone by surprise.
Mr. Aspin said he himself had to inform the British, after stumbling on the notice on the Internet the day after it was posted.

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