Members of Haitian women for Haitian refugees organization rally for restoration of TPS and permanent status for refugees from Haiti on Ocean Avenue. – New York, NY – November 8, 2020 (Shutterstock)
Washington D.C. – Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced a new 18-month designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti. This new TPS designation will enable over 100,000 Haitian nationals currently residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021 to file initial applications for TPS, shielding them from deportations and allowing them to work legally.
The Department of Homeland Security cited extraordinary and temporary conditions in Haiti that prevent nationals from returning safely, specifically, a political crisis and human rights abuses, serious security concerns, and the COVID-19 pandemic’s exacerbation of a dire economic situation and lack of access to food, water, and healthcare.
The following is a statement by Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:
This move is a much-needed temporary reprieve for thousands of Haitians who, under no circumstances, should be returned to their home country at this time. The current conditions on the ground in Haiti are nothing short of desperate. Civil unrest and political instability have devolved into violence; hospitals are on the brink of collapse; and dire economic conditions have led to widespread food insecurity.
We applaud the Biden administration for recognizing the common humanity of Haitians, who have long been disproportionately impacted by overzealous detentions and deportations. Today’s decision is an important step forward in upholding racial justice in the context of our nation’s immigration policy.
This moment requires recognition and celebration of tireless advocacy by Haitian activists and their allies. We must also continue to call for TPS designations as humanitarian need demands, including for nationals of Cameroon and Mauritania, among others, who cannot safely return home.