The Biden administration granted temporary protected status to thousands of Haitian immigrants after the Trump administration decided not to renew their protections, The Washington Post reports.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that tens of thousands of Haitians living in the country without legal status will be protected from deportation for 18 months due to worsening conditions in the country. Only those already in the US are eligible, meaning those that arrive after May 21 may still face deportation.
“Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “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 so they may safely return home.”
Reversal from Trump admin:
The Obama administration granted Haitians temporary protected status after the 2010 earthquake and the designation has been renewed every time since until the Trump administration announced in 2017 that it would not extend the protections.
The administration gave Haitians 18 months to leave the country but was forced to walk back the policy after lawsuits.
Directive could protect 150K:
Biden’s directive could protect up to 150,000 Haitians in the US, said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez.
“The last thing our country should be doing is forcing an entire community in the U.S. to decide between packing up their lives and tearing their families apart by self-deporting, or becoming undocumented and forced into the shadows of our society,” Menendez said in a statement. “All one needs to do is take a look at the conditions on the ground in Haiti to understand why today’s announcement to issue a new TPS designation will avoid destabilizing the island’s fragile recovery efforts and keep approximately 150,000 individuals from harm’s way.”