Haitians have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) on Saturday by the Biden administration, announced by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas.
The status has been granted for 18-months and takes away the threat of deportation for Haitian nationals residing in the United States.
Marleine Bastien, executive director of Family Action Network Movement, says she can finally breathe a deep sigh of relief after years of hard work.
“These families will go to bed tonight knowing that they will be able to stay.”
This announcement comes during the month of Haitian Heritage Month.
Close to 2,000 Haitian immigrants have been deported since February. The status could allow more than 100,000 Haitian immigrants to legally stay in the county for up to 18 months.
The decision was made after consultation with interagency partners and comes as Haitians experience extraordinary circumstances, which do not allow Haitian nationals to return home safely.
“Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary Mayorkas.
“After careful consideration, we determined that we must do what we can to support Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve so they may safely return home.”
“Women and girls have been kidnapped, raped," said Bastien. "We’ve had state-sponsored massacres going on, the killing of political opponents.”
“Deporting people in these conditions could be harmful."
It is important to note that the application for TPS will only be allowed for those residing in the U.S. as of May 21, 2021, who meet all other requirements. Those who travel to the U.S. after that time will not be eligible.
Haiti’s 18-month designation will go into effect on the publication date of the Federal Register notice to come shortly. The Federal Register notice will provide instructions for applying for TPS and employment authorization documentation.
Bastien, who works with low-income families in Little Haiti, says the announcement will mainly help those who came to the US after the 2010 earthquake.
Those eligible will have to apply with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and may also request an Employment Authorization Document and travel authorization. All individuals applying for TPS undergo security and background checks as part of determining eligibility.
Current beneficiaries under Haiti’s TPS designation will need to file a new application to register for TPS to ensure they do not lose TPS or experience a gap in coverage.
Local leaders say the decision was long overdue for a community which has contributed so much to the U.S. and to South Florida.
“Haitians have helped build modern Miami and with this announcement, they have the security to continue that momentum,” said Randy McGrorty, Executive Director Catholic Legal Services Archdiocese of Miami.
“It is a recognition of the contributions of the Haitian community to South Florida. We applaud the administration.”