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After Months of Silence and Inaction, Sec. Mayorkas says DHS Considering TPS for Haiti, Cameroon, and Mauritania

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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said last week at a UCLA Center for Immigration Law Policy conference that the agency is reviewing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians, Cameroonians and Mauritanians. 

The development comes after over 500 advocates, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Black Lives Matter co-founders Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza, author Edwidge Danticat, actress Garcelle Beauvais, Florida State Representative Dotie Joseph, and more called for the Biden Administration to act urgently in providing TPS for Haitians.

Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communications at America’s Voice, said: 

It is well beyond time for the Biden Administration to redesignate Haiti and create new designations for Cameroon and Mauritania for TPS. The chorus of Members of Congress, leaders, officials, advocates and TPS holders relentlessly screaming for the Biden administration to take action to protect immigrants and utilize TPS should be taken very seriously.

Despite Haiti’s fragile conditions, the Biden administration has been actively deporting people back to Haiti since they took office. The administration needs to act and act fast in reviewing country conditions and use TPS for what it was created to do: protect immigrants from deportation and help stabilize economies through remittances. There are no excuses for the delays, unkept promises to Haitians, or inaction in protecting people from deportation back to Cameroon, Mauritania, and numerous other countries in this hemisphere and around the world.

CNN’s Geneva Sands’ reporting on the developments can be found here, with excerpts below:

“The Biden administration is reviewing whether to extend humanitarian protections to Haitians and other foreign nationals as part of the Temporary Protected Status program, according to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The acknowledgment comes amid growing pressure from lawmakers and advocates to redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status, a form of humanitarian relief, which can be granted when it is deemed unsafe to return to one’s home country.

Mayorkas said country conditions are ‘very much under review,; with respect to Haiti and other countries with a lower profile, indicating that the US is also looking at Cameroon and Mauritania for possible protection.

‘We’re very mindful of the fact that the conditions in those countries deserve our close review. And that review is well underway,’ he said at the UCLA Center for Immigration Law Policy conference Friday.

… Nearly 500 advocates, human rights activists, and nonprofit organizations sent a letter this week to the White House calling for the Biden administration to re-designate TPS for Haitians living in the US.

“The Trump Administration tried to end TPS for Haitians, many of whom have been on the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic and keeping the United States moving forward as our healthcare workers and caregivers, transportation workers and farm workers,” the letter said. “It is imperative that the Biden Administration make things right and redesignate TPS for Haiti immediately.”

Earlier this month, Democratic Rep. Albio Sires of New Jersey and Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida sent a letter to Mayorkas detailing the unsafe issues in Haiti, like food insecurity, gender-based violence and political instability.”