Washington, DC – This week, the Haitian Bridge Alliance, member organizations of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, and over 400 other civil and human rights organizations sent a letter to the Biden administration calling for the extension and redesignation of TPS for Haiti.
The letter was sent in the wake of the administration’s announcement that TPS will be extended for countries in the Ramos v. Mayorkas case, including Haiti. However, the extension only applies to the 2011 designation of TPS for Haiti. To protect all Haitian nationals in the United States, an extension is needed for the 2021 designation and a new designation of TPS must also be issued.
In addition to calling for TPS, the signatories of the letter also urge the administration to halt deportations to Haiti, release Haitians in detention, and take other actions to support Haitians seeking safety. Haitian immigrants are cherished members of our neighborhoods and faith communities, and they deserve the legal protections needed to continue building their lives in American society in peace.
The signatories write:
“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 has experienced a nationwide lockdown for several weeks, with roads and businesses blocked by barricades erected by armed groups. Civilians are being threatened, injured, sexually assaulted, or killed, and homes are being looted and burned by gang violence. The UN estimates that 1.5 million people, or nearly 50 percent of the capital’s population, are directly affected by gang violence, and 4.5 million need humanitarian assistance. Since June 2021, more than 50,000 people have been displaced and forced to leave their homes due to violence.
A gang blockade at Haiti’s principal fuel terminal has crippled day-to-day activity throughout the country, paralyzing the economy, interrupting movement, and restricting essential supplies of food, medicine, and fuel for over 2 months. The inflation rate is 30 percent, the value of the Gourde dropped 32 percent from January to August 2022, and the price of food and gas has doubled, and in some cases increased ten-fold on the black market. According to a recent report by the UN, 4.7 million people in Haitian Nationals are facing acute hunger, including 19,000 in catastrophic famine conditions for the first time.
All of the conditions leading to the Biden administration’s original TPS redesignation on May 22, 2021, the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7, 2021, the August 14, 2021 earthquake and subsequent tropical storm, and the deteriorating crises as described herein, make a safe return to Haiti completely impossible. On November 3, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk echoed this sentiment and warned, ‘In this context, it is clear that the systematic violations of rights in Haiti do not currently allow for the safe, dignified and sustainable return of Haitians to the country.’”
A PDF of the full letter and signatories can be found here.
The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is made up of over 55 national, faith-based organizations brought together across many theological traditions with a common call to seek just policies that lift up the God-given dignity of every individual. In partnership, we work to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of all refugees and migrants. Follow us on Twitter @interfaithimm