Letter to Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, Antony Blinken, Secretary of State - Van Hollen, Markey, Colleagues Urge Tps Extension and Redesignation for Haiti as Gang Violence, Civil Unrest Force Thousands to Leave


Dear Secretary Mayorkas and Secretary Blinken:

We write to call for an immediate extension and redesignation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In light of the worsening conditions in Haiti, including prolific gang violence, widespread civil and political unrest since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, and the inability of average Haitians to obtain gasoline, food, water, health care, and other basic necessities, extending and redesignating Haiti's TPS status is urgently warranted.

On August 3, 2021, the Biden administration designated Haiti for TPS for a period of 18 months. Since then, the systemic collapse of the country's economy and the complete erosion of the rule of law, as evidenced by criminal gangs' control over most aspects of life in Port-au-Prince and other municipalities, have forced Haitians to flee their country in growing numbers. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that its crews interdicted 6,114 Haitian migrants at sea during federal fiscal year 2022, 4,500 more than in the previous fiscal year. Haitians fleeing their homeland often resort to dangerous journeys across the Caribbean Sea, and in July 2022 alone, 17 Haitians died after their vessel capsized off the coast of the Bahamas.

According to Human Rights Watch, "more than a third of Haitians--4.4 million--experience food insecurity . . . and 217,000 children suffer moderate to severe malnutrition." The United Nations has also reported that the "gang crisis has driven more than 20,000 people from their homes" and has documented "from January to the end of June [2022], 934 killings, 684 injuries and 680 kidnappings" in Port-au-Prince.

The global COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis, the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, and a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August 2021 have exacerbated Haiti's daunting challenges of political instability and gang violence. Further compounding this dire situation is Haiti's recently reported cholera outbreak, with the first case confirmed on October 2, 2022. As of October 16, 2022, there have been 835 suspected cases, 78 confirmed cases, and at least 36 deaths documented. The lack of access to clean water and sanitation, pervasive food insecurity, and inadequate health care has allowed this outbreak to spread rapidly.

Extending and redesignating Haiti for TPS will prevent further hardship and unnecessary loss of life.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to your response.