Biden grants temporary protected status to Haitian immigrants

“Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses"

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President Joe Biden has granted Haitians in America the status of Temporary Protected Status allowing for approximately 100,000 people to have a pathway to remain in the United States lawfully. 

The announcement was made on Saturday by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas who stated that the designation will last for 18 months and that eligible Haitian nationals currently residing in the U.S. can apply for the protection immediately. 

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“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,” said Secretary Mayorkas 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,” he continued.

President Donald Trump famously tried to end TPS for Haitians after it was granted before in 2010 due to a massive earthquake that hit the country and resulted in 250,000 deaths. In September 2020, an appeals court granted the Trump administration’s request.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 07: People demonstrate as a trial begins to try to protect Haitians immigrants under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from being deported back to Haiti in front of the Eastern District of New York Federal Courthouse in downtown Brooklyn on January 07, 2019 in New York City. President Donald Trump is trying to end TPS for Haitians which was granted to them following the 2010 7.0 magnitude earthquake which decimated the island nation and resulted in the death of 250,000 Haitians. TPS allows immigrants to work and live in the United States following a natural disaster or an ongoing armed conflict in their home country. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, theGrio’s White House Correspondent April Ryan addressed the issue of people of the African diaspora being left out of the immigration debate. She noted that the Haitian Bridge Alliance had been advocating for Biden to add Haitians back to the TPS designation after a rash of deportations under the Trump administration. 

Rep. Mondaire Jones fought what he called the “unlawful” deportation of one of his constituents who emigrated to the United States at 5-years-old and had never returned to the nation. He was still ordered to be deported two days before Biden’s inauguration. 

Read More: Why are Black people being left out of the immigration debate?

In a statement, he wrote, ”I am proud that the Biden Administration has heeded my call to redesignate Haiti for TPS. At a time when Haiti is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation humanitarian crisis, this redesignation will save lives.” 

He added: “I hope this redesignation will be the first of many vital steps the Biden Administration takes in response to the dire situation in Haiti — including welcoming people unjustly removed to Haiti back to their communities here in the United States, like my neighbor and constituent, Paul Pierrilus.”

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