Biden administration criticized for deporting Haitian refugees just days before devastating earthquake

Washington DC – Refugee advocates are calling on the Biden administration to stop deportations to Haiti and extend protections for Haitians in the US.

The devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Saturday killed nearly 2,000 people.
The devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on Saturday killed nearly 2,000 people.  © IMAGO / Xinhua

On Saturday, Haiti was rocked by a devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake that left nearly 2,000 people dead and many more injured.

The island of Hispaniola has subsequently been hit by Tropical Storm Grace, which further obstructed relief efforts.

But just two days prior to the earthquake, refugee advocates say the Biden administration deported a plane full of Haitian migrants back to the country, the Miami Herald reported.

Biden administration re-designates TPS for Burma as Central Americans demand action
Migration Biden administration re-designates TPS for Burma as Central Americans demand action

Pregnant people and infant children were said to be on board the aircraft, according to the University of California's Center for Gender & Refugee Studies.

Now, Haitian Americans and supporters are calling on the US government to end its deportation policy to Haiti, at least for the time being.

Leah Chavla, director of the Women's Refugee Commission, said in a statement, "It is crystal clear that now is not the time for the United States to be forcibly removing anyone to Haiti, and frankly it has been dangerous to do so for months now."

"Deportations under these circumstances will further destabilize Haiti in a moment when it needs support from the international community," she continued.

Activists call for extension of Temporary Protective Status

Haitian Americans and other activists are calling on the Biden administration to once again extend the Temporary Protected Status of Haitians in the US (archive image).
Haitian Americans and other activists are calling on the Biden administration to once again extend the Temporary Protected Status of Haitians in the US (archive image).  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Activists are also calling on the Biden administration once again to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the US.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas extended TPS for Haitians once in May and again on August 3.

The current TPS protocols allow Haitians who have been living and residing in the US as of July 29 to remain in the country until February 3, 2023.

DOJ releases updated inventory of documents recovered from Trump's estate
Donald Trump DOJ releases updated inventory of documents recovered from Trump's estate

Tessa Petit of the Florida Immigrant Coalition told the Miami Herald, "Our concern is that the folks who are being deported because they don’t have due process ... It’s hard to know if they entered the United States before July 29th."

Though he extended TPS, Mayorkas in July issued a strict warning to potential Haitian and Cuban immigrants by sea, warning them they would be turned away if they attempted to make landing on the US coast.

Horrified by the thought of sending Haitians back to a country in crisis, many Democrats are seeking a permanent path to citizenship for Haitian TPS recipients and other migrants. They hope funding for such measures will be included in the final Democratic reconciliation bill.

The $3.5-trillion Democratic budget blueprint was passed in the Senate along party lines. It is still pending a vote in the House before the actual bill is drafted and voted on.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

More on the topic Migration: