Members of Congress put pressure on Biden to grant protections for Haitians fleeing to the U.S.

Clarke told theGrio the situation in Haiti “is very chaotic” and that Haitians are “not receiving humanitarian aid” and some are on the verge of starvation.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., is urging the Biden-Harris administration to stand with Haiti and extend safeguards as they flee from the Caribbean nation to the United States.

Clarke told theGrio the situation in Haiti “is very chaotic” as Haitians are “not receiving humanitarian aid” and some are on the verge of starvation amid the country’s instability.

In a letter addressed to President Joe Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Clarke demands that the administration grant Haitians Temporary Protected Status (TPS), halt all deportations from the U.S. to Haiti, and extend humanitarian parole to any Haitians currently detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Clarke said that if the U.S. were to grant TPS to Haitians fleeing unrest in the Caribbean nation marred by gang violence and poverty, it would give them needed “stability.”

The congresswoman said it also provides them an avenue to earn income to send back to family and loved ones at home.

Several congressional members signed the letter, including U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, D-Fla., Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Calif., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clark, D-N.Y.,
Washington , D.C. – January 26 : Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-NY., speaks with other lawmakers about Border Policies during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, January 26, 2023, in Washington DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Kamlager-Dove, who serves on the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, told theGrio that the U.S. “needs to step up” and that “Haiti deserves our attention and alliance.”

Haiti has faced “constant turmoil” due to instability, poverty, and political chaos, said the California lawmaker. She added, “They have never been allowed to have the kind of economic support that other countries have been allowed to have.”

Omar told theGrio the U.S. Congress needs to pressure the Biden-Harris administration “to make sure policies are being implemented to help and support Haiti.”

Since late February, Haiti has seen an uptick in violence, deaths, and kidnappings as armed gangs terrorize the nation. In recent months gang members have attacked Haiti’s airports, police stations, prisons, and the country’s largest port, which has stopped the flow of supplies and destabilized life for many Haitians.

Gang members claim they have launched targeted attacks across the nation due to frustration from postponed elections.

In the letter, members expressed that critics believe Prime Minister Ariel Henry is partially to blame for the turmoil because he is “unconstitutionally clinging to power” and failed to hold elections following President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination in 2021.

Pedestrians and commuters fill a street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, March 12, 2024. Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced Tuesday that he would resign once a transitional presidential council is created, bowing to international pressure to make way for new leadership in the country overwhelmed by violent gangs. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

After repeated calls for Henry’s resignation, the prime minister announced he would step down once a transitional government was in place.

On Friday, the U.S. welcomed the establishment of Haiti’s Transitional Presidential Council, which many hope will quell violence and restore stability in the country.

Clarke told theGrio she plans to send the letter to the Biden-Harris administration next week and remains hopeful that Biden will respond positively.

Clarke added, given President Biden’s work in the Western Hemisphere as vice president and as a U.S. senator who served as a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he “understands how imperative it is” to provide humanitarian assistance to Haitians.

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