US continues TPS for Haitians

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BROOKLYN, NY – The Joe Biden administration has announced the automatic extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti and five other countries.

“TPS beneficiaries from these six countries will retain their status, provided they continue to meet all the individual requirements for TPS eligibility,” said Department of Homeland Security (DHS), adding that the automatic extension of TPS-related documentation includes Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) through December 31, 2022.

“Eligible individuals, whose TPS under the Haiti designation is presently continued by court orders and this notice, are strongly encouraged to apply for Haiti TPS under the recently announced new designation. This will ensure their TPS will continue if the courts end their injunctions.”

In addition, DHS said eligible individuals who do not apply for the new Haiti TPS designation during the initial registration period might be prohibited from filing a late initial registration during any subsequent extension of the designation if they do not meet certain conditions.

“This extension ensures continued compliance with various court orders issued by federal district courts in the Ramos, Bhattarai, and Saget lawsuits,” said DHS, adding that current beneficiaries under the TPS designations for Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan do not need to pay a fee or file any application to maintain their TPS and have their TPS-related documentation automatically extended through December 31, 2022.

DHS said beneficiaries with interest in a new EAD, with the expiration date of December 31, 2022, displayed on the EAD, must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

“A Federal Register notice explaining how TPS beneficiaries, their employers, and benefit-granting agencies may determine which EADs are automatically extended for those beneficiaries will be published soon,” DHS said.

In late July, a major Haitian group in Miami welcomed an announcement by the Biden administration that it will publish in a Federal Register notice information about how to register for TPS for Haiti.

DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas previously announced an 18-month designation of Haiti for TPS on May 22.

“We applaud and commend the Biden administration’s decision to publish the Federal Register for TPS for Haiti,” said Marleine Bastien, executive director of Family Action Network Movement (FANM), a Haitian non-profit group dedicated to the social, economic, financial, and political empowerment of low- to moderate-income families.

Bastien said the decision by the Biden administration could allow over 150,000 Haitians to remain in the United States with legal standing.

“FANM applauds this decision and stands ready to assist members with the application process; while we celebrate this encouraging news, we ask the Biden administration to release all Haitian refugees and immigrants who have been detained for months without the basic rights of due process [and] facilitate the return of all refugees/immigrants who were falsely deported under Title 42.”

Bastien said that FANM and its partners have built “an extensive and sustainable campaign around TPS re-designation for Haiti and other nations over the past four years.

“We have targeted elected officials, rallied in front of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) buildings, held press conferences, provided educational resources, launched petitions/social media campaigns, but, most importantly, organized impacted community members to speak for themselves in front of D.C. (Washington, D.C.) lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to find a permanent solution for TPS recipients and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) holders,” she said.

To be eligible for TPS under this designation, DHS said individuals must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the United States since July 29, 2021.

“In light of recent events in Haiti, including the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse,  Mayorkas has modified this date from what was previously announced,” the statement said, warning that individuals who attempt to travel to the US after July 29, 2021, “will not be eligible for TPS and may be subject to expulsion or removal.”

The DHS said individuals applying for Haiti TPS must submit the necessary documents during the 18-month initial registration period from August 3, 2021, through February 3, 2023. Haiti TPS applicants are eligible to file these documents online.

Caribbean American congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the founding co-chair of the United States House of Representatives the Caribbean and Haiti Caucuses, had dispatched a letter to President Biden urging him to “prioritize the needs of Haiti and members of the Haitian Diaspora.”

Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants representing the largely Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York, copied the letter to US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Mayorkas. Espaillat, Sheila Jackson Lee, Grace Meng, Darren Soto, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“As founding co-chair of both the House Caribbean and Haiti Caucuses, I have worked closely with my colleagues to insist the administration prioritize the needs of Haiti and members of the Haitian Diaspora that [who] call America home,” wrote Clarke, who is also chair of the US Congressional Black Caucus Taskforce on Immigration.

“Presently, Haiti is at an inflection point, and we must work together to promote peace and a Haitian-led democratic government. This letter outlines our urgent concerns and shares our collective caucus priorities regarding Haiti’s continued deteriorating situation.

“Our duty as Members of Congress is to uplift and support Haiti and advance policies that will promote relationships that substantively and meaningfully engage Haitian civil society in defense of Haiti’s democracy, civil rights, and liberty,” she wrote.

The letter followed a similar correspondence by several Haitian American legislators and groups in New York calling on the Biden administration to “create an easier pathway” for Haitians seeking political asylum.

In their letter,  they urged the administration to create this “easier pathway” by lifting the refugee admission ceiling, temporarily halting the deportation of Haitian migrants from the US, and providing the people of Haiti with humanitarian aid in the form of food assistance additional COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“There is a crisis in Haiti that demands our immediate attention as Americans and begs the continued action of your leadership,” they wrote.

The Biden administration has reiterated its commitment to supporting the Haitian people following the assassination of President Moïse, who was gunned down at his private residence on July 7.

And presidential elections as soon as feasible,” he added.

The authorities on the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country have since arrested more than 40 people, including several former Colombian army officials, in connection with the assassination/

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