Washington, DC – As in-country conditions in Haiti continue to deteriorate and Haitians continue to live in limbo regarding their migration status, a chorus of voices from Congress have joined with advocates for human rights and for immigrants to urgently call on the Biden administration to extend and redesignate Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. While some Haitians covered by the Ramos v Mayorkas lawsuit are already set for an automatic extension, further action is needed from the President and his team to extend the current program to ensure that all Haitians currently eligible for TPS are allowed to stay and work. The Administration should also redesignate TPS for Haiti to allow thousands of others who arrived since the last redesignation in 2021 to apply for protection from deportation.
In a press call yesterday organized by the Haitian Bridge Alliance, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer joined human rights and Haitian advocates to call on the administration to extend and redesignate TPS:
- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer said on the call: “As the first Jewish Senate Majority Leader in history, I am keenly aware of the horrific consequences of denying refuge to those who desperately need it. Given the deteriorating conditions in Haiti, it is impossible for Haitian nationals to make a safe return to their country. I stand with the Haitian American community, and I urge the Biden Administration to immediately extend and redesignate Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status designation.”
- Guerline Jozef, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Haitian Bridge Alliance said, “In Haiti, we are witnessing extreme human rights violations, extreme political turmoil, and unbearable in-country conditions. People in Haiti are hiding due to gang violence and political turmoil, and top government officials being assassinated. Because of these dire conditions, it is imperative and critical that the Biden Administration redesignate and extend TPS for Haiti. We are at an impasse — we are seeing that the only recourse is for us to protect Haitians that are already in the US, and we must also provide protections for those who wish to come to the United States.”
- A recording of the full press conference and quotes from other speakers can be found here
In a Miami Herald article “Immigration advocates, lawmakers ask Biden to extend and renew Haiti TPS designation” Jaqueline Charles reported on the current in-country conditions in Haiti and the pressure building on the White House to take action:
The push comes as the administration prepares for the end of Title 42, the pandemic-era border policy that led to thousands of Haitians and other asylum seekers being rapidly expelled after crossing the border because they were deemed a public health threat.A federal judge has ordered the Biden administration to stop using Title 42 on Dec. 21, leading some Republicans to criticize the administration and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ handling of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Guerline Jozef, the co-founder of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, said the end of Title 42 should not play a role in whether or not to re-designate TPS for Haitians because it would apply only to those who are already here, which is estimated to be about 100,000 prospective beneficiaries.
“We are witnessing extreme, extreme human rights violence, extreme political turmoil, extreme difficulties in Haiti right now,” she said. “The conditions are unbearable.”
Jozef, who remains in contact with many Haitians who have been returned after illegally entering the U.S., said people are living in fear in Haiti, forced to hide because of gang violence. That violence has worsened in the last several weeks after gangs ended a two-month blockade of the country’s fuel terminal. There have been massacres in several neighborhoods, including a dozen people killed in the town of Cabaret just outside Port-au-Prince this week, which followed the assassination of the head of the Police Academy.
Also, in case you missed it, America’s Voice released a statement yesterday calling on the Biden Administration to extend and redesignate TPS for Haiti:
“Conditions on the ground in Haiti have deteriorated to such an extent that the Biden Administration should have zero hesitation in not only extending TPS protections for those currently eligible but redesignating the program to protect as many Haitians in the U.S. as possible. The current conditions in Haiti are a textbook example of why TPS was created in the first place.
The Biden administration has previously decided to deport Haitians back to the chaos and lawlessness of the country and this is one of the bleakest decisions this President has ever made. Now, the Biden Administration has an opportunity and responsibility to chart a different course. Extending TPS will advance U.S. interests and help stabilize Haiti. It’s the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do and they should extend and redesignate protections without delay.”