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After Marathon Lobbying Effort, Haitians Get TPS Extension

Haitian-Americans demonstrate outside the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach on Haitian Flag Day last week urging the Biden Administration to renew Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for undocumented Haitians living in the U.S.
Jose A. Iglesias
/
Miami Herald
Haitian-Americans demonstrate outside the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach on Haitian Flag Day last week urging the Biden Administration to renew Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians living in the U.S. It was renewed May 21 for another 18 months.

Saying Haiti right now is not a safe country for people to return to, the Biden Administration has renewed Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in the U.S.

For three years, Haitians in the U.S. have been urging the federal government to renew Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for their community — and the Biden Administration has finally granted it.

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Over the weekend, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas extended TPS for Haitiansfor another 18 months. That means more than 100,000 TPS-eligible Haitians living in the U.S. won’t have to worry about being deported, and may legally work here, during that time.

Mayorkas said the Biden Administration is renewing the TPS designation because Haiti’s economic, public security and human rights collapse makes it unsafe to send people back there.

“After careful consideration, we determined that we must do what we can to support Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve," Mayorkas said in his statement.

The U.N. says almost half of Haiti's population right now is going hungry; the country is in the grips of a terrifying ransom kidnapping wave; and security forces under authoritarian President Jovenel Moïse are accused of increasing brutality.

“Conditions have completely deteriorated in Haiti," said Haitian-American Marleine Bastien, who heads the Miami nonprofit Family Action Network Movement that lobbied hard for the TPS renewal. "So we are happy that finally the Biden Administration listened to the collective voices, and to the bipartisan group from Congress who sent letters to President Biden.”

Haitians first received TPS in 2010 after Haiti’s earthquake. It had been regularly renewed until the Trump Administration signaled its end three years ago. Lawsuits have since prevented that. Haitian-American activists like Bastien now want Congress to grant Haitians who have had TPS for several years a path to permanent U.S. residence.

“It is extremely important," Bastien said. "They are deeply rooted in their communities now – the COVID pandemic has shown us they are often our frontline workers.”

The Biden Administration has deported almost 2,000 Haitians this year. Immigration advocates now hope those deportations will drop considerably if not stop. Haitian diaspora leaders also want President Biden to take a harder line with Moïse, whom they hold responsible for much of the country’s distress.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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