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Immigration Law

Biden Administration Will Allow Haitian Immigrants in the US To Obtain Temporary Protected Status

The designation of temporary protected status will apply to Haitians — or individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti — who were in the U.S. as of May 21.

The Biden administration will grant more than 100,000 Haitians in the US the opportunity to gain temporary protected status, shielding them from deportation and allowing them to obtain work permits, according to a Department of Homeland Security document.

The Obama administration previously provided temporary protected status for Haitians who had been in the country continuously since 2010, after an earthquake hit near the capital of Port-au-Prince and, according to estimates, more than 200,000 people were killed. Biden administration officials note that the country has not fully recovered from the earthquake.

The designation of temporary protected status will apply to Haitians — or individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti — who were in the US as of May 21. It will not apply to those who arrive after that day. The decision to create a new designation allows for an additional 100,000 Haitians to become eligible to apply for temporary protected status on top of the more than 50,000 who already have it. The designation of TPS runs for 18 months.

“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 DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement. “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.”

Mayorkas consulted with the State Department in making his decision, choosing to grant TPS for Haiti “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.”

DHS officials will soon file a notice in the Federal Register to allow Haitians currently in the US to obtain the protections.

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