Nearly 500 advocates, artists, media personalities, human rights activists, academics and nonprofit organizations sent a letter to the White House Tuesday laying out the dire conditions in Haiti and calling for the Biden Administration to urgently re-designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians living in the United States. Signers include Rev. Jesse Jackson, Black Lives Matter co-founders Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza, author Edwidge Danticat, actress Garcelle Beauvais, and singer-actress Tatyana Ali.
The previous administration tried to end TPS for Haiti, throwing the lives of more than 55,000 Haitians who have been living and working in the United States for years into chaos. Many are fighting on the frontlines of COVID-19 in essential industries to support our nation’s health response and economic recovery, but they — and tens of thousands more who remain unprotected — could be ripped away from their families and deported without immediate action from the White House.
READ MORE IN THE HILL: More than 500 advocates call on Biden to renew TPS for Haiti
The letter from advocates comes just one day after 69 Members of Congress called on the Biden Administration to immediately re-designate TPS for Haitian migrants living in the U.S. and to freeze all Title 42 related expulsions to Haiti. In the letter from elected officials, led by Representatives Gregory Meeks (NY-05) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), lawmakers noted that “amid the current political crisis, the Department of Homeland Security has expelled more than an estimated 1,500 individuals to Haiti just since early February, despite awareness that those returned to Haiti ‘may face harm.’ It is vital that the U.S. comply with U.S. and international legal obligations and allow all migrants access to the asylum system.”
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According to Human Rights Watch’s 2021 World Report, Haiti is currently experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of violence in decades, with nationwide unrest and political turmoil that have deteriorated significantly since 2018. The country is experiencing severe instability, a crashing economy, and what federal lawmakers say is a weak legal system that fosters widespread impunity for heinous gender-based crimes.
Given the extraordinarily fragile and dire conditions in Haiti, the Biden Administration must re-designate Temporary Protected Status for Haiti immediately.