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‘Honor the Dignity of Haitian People’: Lawmakers and Advocates Gather On Capitol Hill to Renew Calls for Haiti TPS

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Congressional lawmakers and advocates held a press event on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to continue urging for a number of humanitarian actions for Haitian immigrants, including the extension and expansion of Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Haiti Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), along with Reps. Cori Bush (MO-01), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Barbara Lee (CA-13) stood alongside Haitian Bridge Alliance, National Haitian American Elected Officials Network, Florida Immigrant Coalition, and UndocuBlack Network to urge the Biden administration to quickly act on relief for Haiti, which is currently in deep unrest and without a functional government. The speakers were joined by community leaders and supporters, including a contingent from CASA, from the Refugee Council USA conference, and many other allies.

“Our Haitian siblings on the island and throughout the diaspora should know that we have not forgotten them and we will never stop fighting for the just and equitable future the Haitian people need and deserve,” said Rep. Pressley. “Congress and the Biden administration have a moral obligation to take action to stabilize Haiti and to save lives, including by providing humanitarian and economic assistance, extending TPS for Haiti, halting deportations, supporting a democratic transition led by Haitian civil society, and more. If we truly believe Black lives matter, then that must include Haitian lives.”

“The press conference comes at a time when the humanitarian, political, economic, and security crises in Haiti are becoming increasingly dire,” said a release from Pressley’s office. Despite the U.S. State Department designating a “do not travel” advisory for Haiti, U.S. immigration officials deported 50 people back to Haiti last month. “The resumption of deportation flights to Haiti is beyond belief,” Tom Cartwright, who tracks deportation flights, told Miami Herald. “At least beliefs that embrace compassion and humanity.”

​​”It is cruel to deport Haitian nationals while arranging for evacuation of American nationals at the same time,” said UndocuBlack Executive Director Patrice Lawrence. “Our ask is simple, honor the dignity of Haitian people.”

Florida Immigrant Coalition Executive Director Tessa Petit said that “the painful reality of the Haitian people is complex and multi-layered. However, the immediate steps that need to be taken can happen with the stroke of a pen. It is time for the administration to redesignate and extend TPS for Haiti. It is also crucial that all deportation of Haitians be immediately halted.”

“An economic plan akin to the Marshall Plan is essential to aid Haiti, which is located less than 90 miles from our shores, in addition to humanitarian assistance and the reconsideration of TPS,” said National Haitian American Elected Officials Network Chair Mary Estimé-Irvin. “Like Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, Haiti is a sovereign nation that requires support.”

Last month, more than 250 faith leaders and organizations signed a letter similarly urging relief, saying their “diverse faith traditions call us to express solidarity with all people whose lives are impacted by conflict and violence, and we urge the administration to vigorously pursue all options for humanitarian protection for Haitians.” The call from faith voices followed a letter from nearly 70 members of Congress in March urging the administration to act on humanitarian relief. Haitian Bridge Alliance also led more than 400 organizations, including America’s Voice, in a letter calling for relief, including expedited CHNV processing.

“It’s urgent for President Biden to re-designate and extend TPS for Haiti,” Haitian Bridge Alliance Executive Director Guerline Jozef said on Wednesday. “Equally vital is for the United States Congress to pass an economic package supporting job creation and key infrastructure projects. Additionally, the Biden administration must immediately cease the deportation of Haitian nationals. Sending people to a country plagued by insecurity and humanitarian crises is unconscionable. The disparate treatment of Black immigrants must come to an end!”

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