Biden admin grants protected status for Haitians

US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced May 23 an 18-month designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This humanitarian protection allows an estimated 100,000 individuals to apply to remain lawfully in the US. There are three statutory grounds for TPS designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. Haiti faces political crisis and human rights abuses, security concerns, and the exacerbation of a "dire economic situation and lack of access to food, water, and healthcare" due to COVID-19, Mayorkas found.

In January, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights warned of possible violent uprisings and government crackdowns amid the deepening political unrest in Haiti. In February, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over the threat to judicial independence in Haiti after the arbitrary arrests of a supreme court justice and 22 other individuals.

Mayorkas cited these conditions in designating Haiti for TPS. Haitian nationals, and individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti, who were residing in the US as of May 21 are able to file initial applications for TPS, provided they meet eligibility requirements. The individuals must file with US Citizenship & Immigration Services within the registration period beginning with publication of the decision in the Federal Register.

From Jurist, May 24. Used with permission.

Note: TPS was first granted for Haitians by the Obama administration in January 2010, and extended several times beginning in May 2011. It was revoked by the Trump administration in November 2017, although the revocation never took effect due to legal challenges.

See our April feature story, "Biden Must Stop Deporting Haitians"