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Warner and Kaine Urge Biden Administration to Extend TPS and Halt Deportations for Haitians Amid Spike in Violence

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues, joined Senate and House colleagues in urging the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State to immediately redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti. They further called on the Biden administration to pause all deportation flights to Haiti until the current level of violence subsides. These actions would permit Haitian nationals already in the United States to remain in the country until conditions improve in Haiti.

TPS provides protection to foreign nationals in the United States whose home countries are experiencing temporary and extraordinary conditions, including armed conflict, natural disasters, and other extraordinary conditions that render return unsafe. In recent weeks, armed gangs have taken control of most of Haiti, including much of the capital Port-au-Prince. These gangs have committed extraordinary acts of violence and committed human rights abuses including killings, kidnappings, and sexual violence.

“Because of the quickly worsening gang violence in Haiti, the uncertain political future following Prime Minister Henry’s resignation announcement, the lack of accountability for human rights violations, and the current government’s abuses, we urge you to extend and redesignate TPS for Haiti and use your discretion to halt deportation flights to the country. These actions will prevent further suffering and unnecessary loss of life,” wrote the lawmakers.

As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Kaine is committed to supporting democracy and stability in Haiti and the rest of the region.  In February, Kaine issued a statement on standing in solidarity with the Haitian people and called on the de facto government of Ariel Henry to lay the groundwork for free, fair, and democratic elections. Last week, Kaine welcomed the confirmation of U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Dennis Hankins. Warner and Kaine have championed TPS for vulnerable migrants from countries including Cameroon, Sudan, Pakistan, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. In December, Warner and Kaine praised a decision by the Department of Homeland Security to grant existing TPS recipients from a number of countries—including Haiti—additional time to re-register for the program and its benefits.

The letter was by led by U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07) and signed by 63 other federal lawmakers in addition to Warner and Kaine.

The full letter can be read here.