The Biden administration is finally reviewing whether to add Haiti to its Temporary Protected Status program following pressure from several members of Congress.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the option was “very much under review,” concerning Haiti. The U.S. 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.
In March, Senators called on the Biden administration to offer protections for Haitian immigrants already in the U.S., as hundreds have already been deported since President Joe Biden was sworn into office.
“The community should not still be in panic across this nation when we have an administration that is willing to do the work of stopping these deportations,” Rep. Ilhan Omar said per The Washington Post. “They have the authority to say no more flights will leave the United States.”
In March, Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez and his Republican colleague, Marco Rubio, penned a letter to Mayorkas, calling on the Biden administration to issue a new round of deportation protections.
“We write to express our deep concern about the complicated economic, security, and humanitarian challenges in Haiti and respectfully request that you consider redesignating Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Haiti’s protracted political crisis exacerbates the severe and prolonged humanitarian needs sparked by the 2010 earthquake,” the senators wrote in a letter.
“Given the current extraordinary and temporary conditions, we urge the Biden-Harris Administration to break the racist cycle left by the Trump Administration and to redesignate Haiti for TPS immediately,” the letter concludes.
Last month, Democratic Rep. Albio Sires of New Jersey and Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida also sent a letter to Mayorkas detailing the unsafe issues in Haiti, like food insecurity, gender-based violence and political instability.