Washington (October 26, 2022) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led 15 of his colleagues in urging the Biden administration to immediately extend and redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti, which would authorize Haitian nationals in the United States to remain in the country until conditions improve in Haiti. The island nation continues to face compounding crises — escalating gang violence, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reports of cholera deaths for the first time in three years, and an inability to get humanitarian assistance to more than five million Haitians — that have forced thousands of Haitians to leave their home in growing numbers. The current TPS designation for Haiti is set to expire in February 2023.
“A redesignation of TPS will allow newly arrived Haitians in the United States to lawfully support themselves and the communities that have welcomed them,” said Senator Markey. “Denying access to TPS to recent arrivals will neither serve as an effective deterrent to future border crossings, given Haitians’ desperation to flee dire conditions, nor cause them to leave the United States voluntarily in light of the continuing extraordinary conditions preventing their safe return home. It will simply ensure that Haitians will live in poverty and at risk of removal in the United States.”
The Senators wrote in their letter, “In light of the worsening conditions in Haiti, including prolific gang violence, widespread civil and political unrest since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, and the inability of average Haitians to obtain gasoline, food, water, health care, and other basic necessities, extending and redesignating Haiti’s TPS status is urgently warranted.”
Joining Senator Markey in signing the letter were Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).
Earlier this month, Senator Markey and Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) led their colleagues in calling on President Biden to support Haiti’s democracy and stability, and to suspend all removals and refrain from returning migrants to Haiti against their will. In October 2016, Senator Markey traveled to Haiti to observe the U.S. humanitarian response to Hurricane Matthew and assess public health conditions amid the nation’s cholera epidemic. He led the effort in the Senate to pressure the United Nations (U.N.) to accept full responsibility for Haiti’s cholera outbreak and deliver financial assistance to victims and their families affected by the epidemic. The U.N. finally apologized in December of that year. In May 2020, Senator Markey urged then-President Trump to halt deportations to Haiti during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to protect the Haitian people and their public health infrastructure.