Over 130 human rights, humanitarian, immigration and women’s rights organizations called on President Biden, the Department of Homeland Security, the Domestic Policy Council, the National Security Agency, and the Department of State to welcome Haitians following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
“At this time of great political and social uncertainty, it would be unconscionable and unlawful for the United States to refuse the entry of Haitians seeking protection at the U.S. border or to pursue removal proceedings, detention, deportation or expulsion of any Haitian nationals to conditions that can only be described as dangerous,” the groups stated in a joint letter addressed to President Biden, Secretary Mayorkas, Ambassador Rice, Advisor Sullivan and Secretary Blinken.
Though the Biden Administration redesignated Haiti for temporary protected status (TPS) on May 22, 2021 for an 18-month period, eligible Haitians still await publication in the Federal Register so that they can apply for TPS.
Guerline Jozef, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance said: Given the current state of Haiti, we ask the Biden-Harris Administration to immediately and comprehensively act to protect Haitian nationals seeking safety. This requires addressing systematic anti-Black racism and discrimination against Haitians that prohibit Haitians from receiving fair access to asylum. As an urgent first step, the Administration should start with issuing parole to all Haitians seeking protection at a U.S. border, and refrain from pursuing removal proceedings or detaining or deporting Haitian nationals. We demand that the U.S. immediately put an end to Title 42 and provide protection for all people — single persons, children and families — seeking refuge. We stand against both internal and external violence that continues to create chaos in Haiti, and urge the Administration to ensure no Haitian seeking safety is turned away or sent back to danger.”
Denise Bell, Researcher for refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International USA said: “Haitians are a vital part of our communities, including in states such as Florida, New York and Massachusetts where over a million people are a part of fabric of our cultural, artistic, and business life, yet thousands more are stranded by the U.S. government and left in treacherous conditions in Mexican border towns as they attempt to seek safety here, a feat almost insurmountable due to the misuse of the public health quarantine Title 42. The United States can and must do more to welcome Haitians into our communities, starting with ensuring Haitians are not forcibly returned to harm and can access safety, just like all people seeking safety must be allowed. The U.S. must immediately put TPS into action, lift Title 42, and stop deportations.”
The organizations are calling for the administration to put in place protections that prevent the forced return of Haitians to Haiti at this dangerous time and give full access to asylum:
- Publish the Haiti TPS redesignation in the Federal Register so that eligible Haitians may apply for this humanitarian protection against forced return;
- Rescind Title 42 in full, for all people;
- Halt deportations and detention of Haitian nationals while Haiti remains in crisis;
- Reinstate the Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) Program;
- Establish a mechanism to support Haitians who were unjustly deported in the past few years to Haiti so that they may be reunited with family and receive the protection of which they were deprived.
Read more: Investigation urged into killing of Haitian President and grave human rights violations under his watch (News, July 7, 2021)
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