On Saturday, the Biden administration extended special protection measures for Haitians temporarily living in the United States after they were displaced by a devastating earthquake in 2010, reversing the previous administration’s efforts to force them to leave the country.
the decision, Announced by the Minister of Homeland SecurityAlejandro Mallorca, fulfills President Biden’s campaign promise to restore a program that protects thousands of Haitian immigrants from the risk of deportation under restrictive policies instituted under President Donald J Trump.
Mr Mayuras said the new designation of 18 months, known as temporary protected status, would apply to Haitians already living in the United States from Friday.
“Haiti is currently suffering from serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights violations, extreme poverty and a shortage of basic resources, which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr. Mayuras said in a statement on Saturday.
Protection measures, created in the 1990 Act, allow foreigners who have been forced to flee their homes due to natural disasters and conflicts to work and live in the United States. Haiti is one of 11 countries benefiting from the program, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Obama administration Thereafter granting temporary protection status to Haitians living illegally in the United States The earthquake is 7.0 magnitude In January 2010.
Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the new appointment could protect up to 150,000 Haitians From having to go back to Political and security crisis In their home.
“The last thing our country should do is to force an entire community in the United States to choose between bundling their lives and tearing their families apart by self-deportation, or becoming undocumented and forced to live in the shadows of our society,” Mr. Menendez said in a statement on Saturday.
As part of his militant efforts to curb legal and illegal immigration, the The Trump administration sought to end the protection Of about 400,000 immigrants living in the United States, including Haitians. Officials said at the time that the emergency conditions that forced immigrants to flee their country – earthquakes, hurricanes, and civil war – occurred long ago and that most immigrants no longer needed the shelter the United States provided.
Lawsuits blocked the cancellations, but in September A. Federal Court of Appeals Sided with Trump administrationBy notifying hundreds of thousands of migrants that they will have to leave the country or face deportation. Many of the affected people have been living in the United States for years. The Trump administration has agreed to keep protection measures in place at least until early 2021, which means the new administration may decide to continue the policy.
Immigration advocates called on the Biden administration for the temporary reclassification of Haitians and other immigrants living in the country and welcomed the decision announced on Saturday.
“Better late than never,” says the TPS National Alliance, a grassroots organization He wrote on Twitter.
In March, the Biden administration Issued special protections For up to 320,000 Venezuelans Living in the United States, citing the country’s extraordinary humanitarian crisis under its leadership President Nicolas Maduro.
But some said that more should be done to give many of these immigrants permission to live in the United States permanently.
“Haitians have been in a state of uncertainty for several months,” said Erica Andiola, chief advocacy officer at the non-profit organization Raices, in a statement. “In the future, this ambiguity can be resolved through permanent reform through legislation that puts TPS holders on the path to citizenship,” she added, using the program abbreviation.
This month , House passed a bill It would create a pathway to obtain citizenship for the estimated 4 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, including those who obtained temporary protection status on humanitarian grounds. The bill was passed mostly on party grounds, and getting it through the more evenly divided Senate will likely be a challenge.