Today, the Biden Administration announced that it would be renewing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than the 50,000 Haitians living in the U.S., and redesignating TPS for Haitians for those who arrived in the U.S. after 2010, which could benefit up to 100,000 additional people.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced a new 18-month designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This new TPS designation enables Haitian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti) currently residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021 to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements.
“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.”
After consultation with interagency partners, Secretary Mayorkas decided to designate Haiti for TPS due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Haiti that prevent nationals from returning safely, specifically, a political crisis and human rights abuses; serious security concerns; and the COVID-19 pandemic’s exacerbation of a dire economic situation and lack of access to food, water, and healthcare. The persistent effects of the 2010 earthquake have also exacerbated the severity of the extraordinary and temporary conditions in Haiti currently. The designation of Haiti for TPS also is not contrary to the national interest of the United States. A country may be designated for TPS based upon one or more of the three statutory grounds for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions.
It is important to note that TPS will apply only to those individuals who are already residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021 and meet all other requirements. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after this announcement will not be eligible for TPS and may be repatriated. 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.
Individuals eligible for TPS under Haiti’s new designation must file an application for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within the registration period that will begin upon publication of the Federal Register notice. This includes current beneficiaries under Haiti’s TPS designation, who will need to file a new application to register for TPS to ensure they do not lose TPS or experience a gap in coverage. Individuals filing for TPS 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.
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano initially designated Haiti for TPS in January 2010 based on extraordinary and temporary conditions within the country, specifically the effects of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. In 2011, Haiti’s designation was extended, and the country was also redesignated for TPS at the same time. Haiti’s designation was subsequently extended again for 18 months in 2013 and 2015, and for an additional six months in 2017.
In January 2018, a Federal Register notice announced termination of Haiti’s TPS designation effective July 22, 2019. Four separate lawsuits challenged that termination. Due to court injunctions and other rulings, TPS for Haiti remains in effect pending case outcomes. Existing TPS Haiti beneficiaries retain their TPS and TPS-related documents through October 4, 2021, and DHS will continue to extend the benefit and documents if required to comply with court orders. These beneficiaries are also eligible to apply under the new designation of Haiti to receive TPS for the entire 18-month period that will be described in the soon-to-be published Federal Register notice.
“Today, the Biden administration affirmed America’s commitment to its humanitarian values,“ said Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director for The New York Immigration Coalition. “Haitian New Yorkers can now rest easier knowing that their families can stay together and in their communities as a vital part of our economic and social fabric. The situation in Haiti remains dire, which is why TPS remains a lifeline for Haitian families fleeing environmental degradation, violence and extreme poverty in their home country. However, the only way to ensure that Haitian New Yorkers and other TPS recipients no longer fall prey to the political whims of our elected leaders is for Congress to take steps now, to correct the situation with a permanent legislative fix. We demand that our Democratic Congressional leadership, led by New York Senator Chuck Schumer, use the budget reconciliation process to ensure a pathway to citizenship for all TPS recipients, Dream Act eligible youth, and Essential Workers. It’s both the right and the moral thing to do for immigrants who are in every way American.”
Temporary Protected Status is a designation afforded to nationals of countries all over the globe experiencing humanitarian crisis such as violent conflict, environmental disasters, or epidemics that would prevent nationals from returning safely. As of today, there are an estimated 325,000 TPS recipients living in the United States, representing eleven TPS-designated countries: Burma, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Over 30,000 TPS recipients reside in New York, including 16,200 Salvadorans, 4,600 Hondurans, and 5,200 Haitians.