Re-designation and expansion of TPS for Haiti: Reactions from several members of the US Congress

Emmanuel Paul
Emmanuel Paul - Journalist/ Storyteller

Several influential members of the U.S. Congress have expressed their support for the Biden administration’s decision to re-designate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), highlighting both the humanitarian importance of the measure and the political implications for Haitian communities in the United States.

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) hailed the announcement as a crucial action to protect Haitians living in the United States in the face of persistent challenges in their home country.

In a statement issued from Washington, Senator Markey said, “I welcome the action taken today by the Biden Administration to continue to protect Haitians in the United States through Temporary Protected Status. The Haitian people continue to face extraordinary threats of violence in their homeland, and the federal government must also stop deportations by air and sea.”

Senator Markey, a staunch supporter of immigrant rights and an active member of the Haiti Caucus in the U.S. Congress, recalled his earlier efforts to influence this historic decision. In May 2024, he had written to Secretary Mayorkas calling for a halt to deportations to Haiti, highlighting the continuing political and humanitarian crisis in the Caribbean country.

Representative Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), co-chair of the House Haiti Caucus, also hailed the announcement as an urgent response to the needs of Haitians in the United States. “The administration’s action to re-designate and extend Temporary Protected Status for Haitians residing in our country couldn’t come at a more crucial time,” Clarke said. She highlighted the multiple crises – political, economic and social – that Haiti has been facing for years, underscoring the importance of maintaining a welcoming policy for Haitians seeking refuge in the United States.

For her part, the co-chair of the House Haiti Caucus, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), expressed her satisfaction with this extension of TPS for Haiti. “The humanitarian crisis in Haiti requires a humanitarian response that will help save lives, and the extension and re-designation of Haiti for TPS is a necessary step that will do just that,” said Congresswoman Pressley. As a representative of a large Haitian community in Massachusetts, Pressley called for additional measures to support Haitians, including efforts to stop deportations and provide urgent humanitarian aid to the island.

The positive response from U.S. lawmakers marks support for the Biden-Harris administration’s humanitarian immigration policy, while highlighting concerted efforts to protect and support vulnerable communities. The decision to re-designate Haiti for TPS is a response to numerous requests from US lawmakers, who had sent several letters to the Secretary of Homeland Security demanding the re-designation of TPS for Haitians in the US illegally, and a halt to mass deportations to Haiti.

This decision by the Biden administration was eagerly awaited, given the U.S. government’s recent moves to take a tougher stance against immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. via the southern border. During this election period, President Joe Biden, who is also running for re-election, has been the subject of sharp criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. Republicans criticized Biden for failing to take steps to secure the border, while some Democrats criticized him for continuing the migration policies of the previous administration.

The announcement of Haiti’s redesignation for TPS marks an important milestone in U.S. migration policy, reaffirming the country’s commitment to protecting those fleeing violence and instability. For Haitian communities in the United States, this decision offers a glimmer of hope and a measure of stability in these uncertain times.

Background to TPS

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was created by the U.S. Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990. This status grants temporary protection to foreign nationals from countries to which it would be dangerous to return due to armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary conditions. TPS beneficiaries are authorized to live and work in the United States for a specified period, renewable as conditions in their country of origin change.

Haiti has been designated for TPS on several occasions, notably after the devastating earthquake of 2010 and more recently due to political instability and increasing violence. The current designation offers essential protection to thousands of Haitians who would otherwise face dangerous conditions if returned home.


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