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Haiti has experienced a nationwide lockdown for several weeks by armed groups. Civilians are being threatened, injured, sexually assaulted, killed and homes are being looted and burned. Armed groups, many controlled by members of the Haitian government, are terrorizing Haiti’s capital with kidnappings and other violent crimes, which have spilled into cities across the country. The country is under a nationwide lockdown for several weeks, with roads and businesses blocked by barricades erected by armed groups.
As of Nov. 5, there are 6,072 suspected cases of cholera and 121 deaths. With a healthcare system on a dramatic decline and the population unable to access the few hospitals and clinics that are open due to shortage of gas and gang violence, the Pan American Health Organization warned that the real number of cases is likely much higher than those reported. Haitians who are deported face deadly violence and insecurity. For example, earlier in October, a man deported to Haiti died from cholera inside a prison after being detained immediately upon his return to the country.
The UN estimates that 1.5 million people, or nearly 50% of the capital’s population, are directly affected by gang violence, and 4.5 million need humanitarian assistance. These worsening and compounding crises, which had led to the UN Security Council considering an international intervention, make it unlikely for Haitian nationals in the United States to have a safe return to Haiti.
The current TPS designation for Haiti will expire on February 3, 2023. It is becoming increasingly urgent for the Biden-Harris Administration to extend and redesignate temporary protected status (TPS) for Haiti. Recently, it was announced that TPS will be extended for countries named in Ramos v. Mayorkas. Although Haiti is one of those countries, the extension only applies to the 2011 designation, which is estimated to be only about 40,000 Haitians. There still needs to be an extension from the 2021 designation, in addition to a redesignation to ensure that those that came in after July 29, 2021, will not be at risk of deportation.
In a letter, the Haitian Bridge Alliance, UndocuBlack Network and over 400 other immigration, civil rights, human rights, and faith-based organizations, called on the Biden-Harris administration to extend and redesignate TPS for Haiti. Recently, sixteen U.S. senators agreed and released a letter calling for the same.
As U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis told the United Nations Security Council in September, “We all know that security in Haiti has worsened over the past year as criminal gangs continue to ravage parts of the country, leading to many killings and kidnappings. We are concerned with the significant deterioration in the independence and operational ability of the judiciary and the apparent evidence of widespread impunity reserved for elite members of the Haitian population.”
Haitians who are living in the U.S. and are currently eligible for TPS contribute $2.6 billion to our economy each year, and 81% of them are in the labor force, providing essential services at a time of worker shortages and high inflation. They have lived here for 15 years, on average, and have built families that include almost 200,000 U.S. citizens. Continuing to provide TPS protections for Haitian nationals would ensure that families remain together and can continue building meaningful lives in American society. Moreover, redesignating Haiti for TPS would allow more Haitians in the U.S. to enroll in the program and contribute their skills and talents to American communities and the American workforce.
In the aforementioned letter Haitian Bridge Alliance and the 422 immigration, human rights, faith-based, and civil rights organizations strongly urged the Biden administration to extend and redesignate Haiti for TPS, to swiftly release the Federal Register Notice, and provide a minimum 180-day registration period for both current TPS holders and new beneficiaries under redesignation, to release all Haitians currently in immigration detention centers, and to halt deportation and expulsion flights to Haiti.