More than 480 human rights organizations have called on the Biden administration to halt deportations to Haiti, release detained Haitian migrants, close pending deportation cases, and provide Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to allow more Haitian migrants already in the U.S. to remain. The organizations express concerns about the safety of Haitian nationals in light of the current situation in Haiti, where gang violence has escalated since Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s resignation. The U.S. government has not deported Haitian migrants back to their home country by plane due to the violence, but has continued sending migrants interdicted at sea back to Haiti by boat.

The Biden administration is facing criticism for its immigration policies, particularly involving Haitian migrants, as it grapples with the ongoing crisis in Haiti. The administration has made over 10 million apprehensions of undocumented migrants at the southern border since taking office, with many being of Haitian descent. The recent surge in crossings has added pressure on the administration as it heads into the November presidential election. Despite the escalating violence in Haiti, the U.S. Coast Guard continues to repatriate migrants interdicted at sea to countries including Haiti.

The administration has provided over $170 million in humanitarian aid to Haiti since October 2022, making it the largest humanitarian assistance provider to the country. However, the Biden administration is facing criticism for not granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to an additional group of undocumented Haitians, as has been done for other countries facing crises. Advocates argue that granting TPS to Haitians would acknowledge the dire situation in their country and allow them to stay and work legally in the U.S. The fear of triggering mass migration and sending the wrong message to Haitians are cited as reasons for not granting TPS.

Guerline Jozef, a human rights advocate and co-founder of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, is calling on the Biden administration to reconsider its policy towards Haitian migrants. Jozef argues that accepting desperate migrants who manage to escape Haiti would not lead to mass migration, as leaving the country is extremely challenging. While U.S. officials have noted that migrants interdicted at sea are being sent to parts of Haiti outside of Port-au-Prince, where much of the violence is concentrated, Jozef insists that the entire country is unstable and sending anyone back to Haiti at this time is unacceptable.

Despite growing pressure from human rights organizations and advocates, the Biden administration has stated that there are no plans to change its current approach to Haitian migrants. While acknowledging the difficulties and challenges of the situation in Haiti, officials emphasize the need to avoid encouraging more people to take dangerous journeys at sea. The administration remains focused on helping Haitians pave a path to democracy and providing humanitarian aid to the country. The issue of TPS for Haitian migrants continues to be a point of contention, with advocates pushing for a reassessment of the policy in light of the current crisis in Haiti.

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