The 132 human rights, humanitarian, immigration, and women’s rights organizations among a number of recommendations point to an unsound, Stephen Miller-pushed policy that’s used the pandemic as an excuse to quickly deport asylum-seekers in violation of their rights. The Biden administration has kept this unlawful policy in place, deporting 900 people (including children) back to Haiti in February alone, and without a fair chance to pursue their claims.
“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 said. “The Biden administration publicly acknowledged the political turmoil and violence overtaking life in Haiti and rightfully redesignated Haiti for temporary protected status (TPS) on May 22, 2021 for an 18-month period.”
But advocates have noted that the Biden administration has yet to formalize this on the Federal Register, which means eligible Haitians already in the U.S. can’t yet apply for work permits and protection from deportation. Yemini TPS took just days to be formalized; Haitian TPS has been outstanding for over 50 days (and counting). “The U.S. must immediately put TPS into action, lift Title 42, and stop deportations,” Amnesty International USA’s Denise Bell said.
“More than one million Haitians and Americans of Haitian descent are part of our American fabric,” the over 130 organizations continued, “establishing robust communities in states such as Florida, New York and Massachusetts where more than two-thirds live, and contributing their literature, art, cuisine, and effort to public health and countless businesses and nonprofits across the United States.” The organizations urge the administration “to refrain from pursuing removal proceedings or the detention or deportation of Haitian nationals while the country remains in crisis.”
“Given the current state of Haiti, we ask the Biden-Harris administration to immediately and comprehensively act to protect Haitian nationals seeking safety,” said Guerline Jozef, cofounder and executive director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “This requires addressing systematic anti-Black racism and discrimination against Haitians that prohibit Haitians from receiving fair access to asylum.” In a letter this month urging the administration to return unjustly deported immigrants, the Congressional Black Caucus noted that Black immigrants make up 20% of deportations despite representing 7% of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
“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,” Bell said. “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,” Jozef continued.