Groups Urge Biden Administration to Halt Deportation Flights to Haiti – Human Rights Watch

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Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.                           
President of the United States 
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Ambassador Susan Rice
Director of the Domestic Policy Council
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Jake Sullivan 
National Security Advisor
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security 
3801 Nebraska Avenue NW 
Washington, D.C. 20016
The Honorable Antony Blinken 
Secretary of State 
U.S. Department of State 
2201 C Street, N.W 
Washington, D.C. 20520
Re: Halting Deportation Flights to Haiti
Dear President Biden, Secretary Mayorkas, Ambassador Rice, Advisor Sullivan, and Secretary Blinken:
Today, as Haitians struggle to cope with the deaths and consequences from the 7.2 earthquake on August 14, 2021, which caused large-scale damage across the country’s southern peninsula, the undersigned organizations ask your Administration to immediately halt all deportation and expulsion flights to Haiti; promptly return to the United States any Haitians who were eligible for Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) and wrongly deported since May 21, 2021; explore other avenues of protection for Haitian immigrants including Deferred Enforced Departure (“DED”); expedite the release of Haitians detained in immigration facilities in the United States, Puerto Rico and other territories; and grant humanitarian parole to Haitians at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Your May 22 announcement redesignating Haiti for TPS was warranted by extraordinary conditions of insecurity, political upheaval and dysfunction, and violence, which made it impossible to return its nationals to safe conditions. The July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and now the massive earthquake are additional hammer blows.
August 14’s earthquake damaged or destroyed more than 120,000 homes, took over 2,200 lives, and injured more than 12,000 people. Hospitals are overwhelmed, buildings flattened, and bodies trapped under rubble. As the head of the Episcopal Church in Les Cayes, one of the main towns affected, said, “The streets are filled with screaming.” As we know from the 2010 earthquake that took approximately 200,000 lives, destroyed much of Port-au-Prince, and from which Haiti has still not fully recovered, it will take years for Haitians to recover from the earthquake. 
Starting on January 13, 2010, the day after the earthquake, the U.S. government halted all deportations to Haiti for about a year or longer. Removals were temporarily halted again in October 2016 after Hurricane Matthew’s devastation. The Biden Administration should now follow suit, prioritize humanitarian relief over enforcement, and instruct ICE to immediately suspend deportations and expulsions indefinitely.
Even before last week’s earthquake, according to Human Rights Watch’s 2021 World Report, Haiti has been experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of violence in decades, where “some 4.1 million Haitians—more than a third—live with food insecurity, and 2.1 percent of children suffer severe malnutrition.” Given these facts, the Administration rightfully redesignated Haiti for TPS on May 22, 2021. Following the assassination of President Moïse, activists wrote to extend further protection as experts warned that the political vacuum left by the President could exacerbate the current cycle of violence in Haiti. 
We welcomed the Administration’s extension of the eligibility date from May 21, 2021 to July 29, 2021, but are alarmed that flights returning them have proceeded. Earlier this month, two deportation flights left Texas for Haiti, returning approximately 130 individuals, including several children under the age of two-years old, just weeks after President Moïse’s assassination. Since February 1, 2021, the Administration sent at least 37 deportation flights to Haiti, even as your officials acknowledged internally that those being deported “may face harm” on return and the COVID-19 pandemic raged. By March, the Biden-Harris Administration had removed more Haitians since taking office than during all of fiscal year 2020. Many of the deportees must return to neighborhoods controlled by gangs with ongoing kidnappings, in an already unstable environment now further overwhelmed by Saturday’s calamity.
As stated by Secretary Mayorkas in his TPS announcement for Haiti, 
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. . . . 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.
Unfortunately, those conditions have worsened as civil unrest has continued, adding to the July 7 assassination, COVID, and now August 14’s devastating earthquake and storm Grace. The judge tasked with overseeing the investigation of the President’s assassination recently resigned, underscoring the threat to judicial independence and the heightened level of fear amongst both ranking members of the Haitian government and civilians alike. 
Given these current extraordinary and temporary conditions in Haiti, we urge your Administration to halt all ICE removal and expulsion flights to Haiti immediately; return to the United States any Haitians who were eligible for TPS but were wrongly deported since May 22, 2021 (including on ICE’s July 6, August 10 and August 12 flights); extend the eligibility date for TPS explore other avenues of protection for Haitian immigrants including Deferred Enforced Departure (“DED”); expedite the release of Haitians detained in immigration facilities in the United States, Puerto Rico and other territories; and grant humanitarian parole to Haitians at the U.S.-Mexico border.
While Haiti’s redesignation for TPS will help promote the nation’s recovery and stability by preserving and increasing the flow of remittances to Haiti, deporting families to Haiti will only impede recovery. It will also severely undermine the Administration’s promise to build a fairer and more inclusive immigration and asylum system for all.
In the statement issued after the August 14th earthquake, President Biden stated, “The United States remains a close and enduring friend to the people of Haiti, and we will be there in the aftermath of this tragedy.” Being “there in the aftermath of this tragedy” cannot include the U.S. government causing additional harm to and pressure on an already-overburdened country and people by continuing deportations.
As the Haitian community and the world watches and waits for the Administration’s next move, we urge them to act with compassion and prioritize human lives over arbitrary enforcement.  
1.               Adelanto Visitation & Advocacy Network Adelanto Visitation & Advocacy Network
2.               Adhikaar for Human Rights & Social Justice
3.               ADL (the Anti-Defamation League)
4.               Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention (AVID) in the Chihuahuan Desert
5.               Advocating Opportunity
6.               African Advocacy Network
7.               African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs
8.               African Communities Together
9.               African Public Affairs Committee
10.             AFSC Florida
11.             AJ Wilhelm Photography, LLC
12.             Al Otro Lado
13.             Aldea – The People’s Justice Center
14.             Alianza Americas
15.             Alianza Nacional de Campesinas
16.             Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School
17.             Alliance San Diego
18.             Alternative Chance
19.             America’s Voice
20.             American Civil Liberties Union
21.             American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
22.             American Friends Service Committee
23.             American Humanist Association
24.             American Immigration Lawyers Association
25.             American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
26.             Americans for Immigrant Justice
27.             Amnesty International USA
28.             Angry Tias & Abuelas
29.             Ansara Family Fund
30.             Ascension Lutheran Church
31.             Asian American Pacific Islander Christians for Social Justice (AAPI-CSJ)
32.             Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC
33.             ASISTA
34.             Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP)
35.             Author, Bradt Guide to Haiti
36.             Barrier Breaking Enterprises
37.             Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture
38.             Beraca Baptist Church
39.             Bethesda Presbyterian Church
40.             Beyond Borders
41.             BIC
42.             Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
43.             Black Immigrant Collective (BIC)
44.             Bodler
45.             BORDER ANGELS
46.             Border Kindness
47.             Border Organizing Project
48.             Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program
49.             Bridges Faith Initiative
50.             Brockton Interfaith Community/ BIC Immigration Team
51.             Brooklyn Community Bail Fund (BCBF)
52.             California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice
53.             California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance
54.             Canopy NWA
55.             Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition
56.             Caribbean American Diaspora Alliance
57.             Casa Yurumein
58.             Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico
59.             Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
60.             Catholic Legal Services, Archdiocese of Miami
61.             Center for American Progress
62.             Center for Constitutional Rights
63.             Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
64.             Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
65.             Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
66.             Center for Popular Democracy
67.             Central American Resource Center – CARECEN- of California
68.             Central American Resource Center (CARECEN-LA)
69.             Central American Resource Center of Northern CA -CARECEN SF
70.             Central AZ National Lawyers Guild
71.             Centro Legal de la Raza
72.             Centro San Bonifacio
73.             Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America – CRLN
74.             Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy
75.             Church World Service
76.             Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
77.             Coalition on Human Needs
78.             Columbia Law School Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
79.             Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, CISPES
80.             Community Lawyering Clinic at Southwestern Law School
81.             Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
82.             Community Powerhouse Consulting & Coaching, LLC
84.             COPAL (Comunidades Organizando el Poder y la Acción Latina)
85.             Creative Exchanges Initiative (CEI)
86.             CRECEN
87.             De Anda Law Firm
88.             Detention Watch Network
89.             Diaspora Community Services
90.             Dignity Rights International
91.             Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel
92.             Disciples of Christ Church
93.             Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries
94.             Dominican Development Center, Inc
95.             Durango Unido en Chicago
96.             Education and Leadership Foundation
97.             Eglise Pentecotiste Pecheurs d’Hommes
98.             Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eastmont
99.             Environmental Justice Initiative for Haiti
100.          EqualHealth
101.          Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, Catholic Charities of Los Angeles
103.          Faith in Action
104.          Faith in Florida
105.          Faith in New Jersey
106.          Faith in New York
107.          Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement
108.          Familias Unidas en Acción
109.          Families for Freedom
110.          Family Action Network Movement (FANM)
111.          Farmworker Association of Florida
112.          Felliatre. France 🇫🇷
113.          First Focus on Children
114.          Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project
115.          Florida Immigrant Coalition
116.          Fondasyon Mapou
117.          Forest Hill Christian Church
118.          Franciscan Network on Migration
119.          Free Migration Project
120.          Free Them All San Diego
121.          Freedom for Immigrants
122.          Freedom Network USA
123.          Freedom to Thrive
124.          Friends of Matènwa
125.          Gender Action
126.          Global Justice Clinic, Washington Square Legal Services
127.          Global Rights Advocacy
128.          Global Youth Revival Network
129.          Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
130.          Groupe d’Appui au Développement et à la Démocratie (GRADE)
131.          Haiti Cultural Exchange
132.          Haiti Justice Alliance
133.          Haiti Now (Ayiti Now Corp)
134.          Haiti Response Coalition
135.          Haiti Solidarity Network of the North East
136.          Haiti Support Group
137.          Haitian American Voter Empowerment
138.          Haitian American Voters Empowerment Coalition (HAVE Coalition)
139.          Haitian Bridge Alliance
140.          Haitian Studies Association
141.          Haitian Women’s Collective
142.          Haitian-American Diaspora Council
143.          HIAS Pennsylvania
144.          Hispanic Federation
145.          Homies Unidos Inc
147.          Hope Border Institute
148.          Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative
149.          Human Rights Clinic, Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, School of Law
150.          Human Rights First
151.          Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
152.          Human Rights Watch
153.          Hyattsville Mennonite Church
154.          IDETTE-Haiti
155.          IKAR
156.          Immigrant Action Alliance
157.          Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic, CUNY School of Law
158.          Immigrant Defenders Law Center
159.          Immigrant Defense Project
160.          Immigrant Justice Advocacy Movement
161.          Immigrant Justice Network
162.          Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
163.          Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project
164.          Immigrant Legal Resource Center
165.          Immigration Equality
166.          Immigration Hub
167.          Immigration Rights Activists
168.          Indivisible
169.          Indivisible Hawaii
170.          Infinite Creative Lit Ltd. Co.
171.          Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice
172.          Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)
173.          Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
174.          Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Service
175.          International Detention Coalition (IDC)
176.          International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
177.          International Rescue Committee
178.          ISLA: Immigration Services and Legal Advocacy
179.          Jakmel Ekspresyon
180.          Japanese American Citizens League
181.          Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice of Western MA
182.          Jewish Coalition Assisting Refugees & Immigrants – Los Angeles
183.          Jewish Family & Community Services – East Bay
184.          JPIC Committee – Religious of Jesus & Mary, USA/Haiti Province
185.          Just Futures Law
186.          Just Haiti, Inc
187.          Justice Action Center
188.          Justice and Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco
189.          Justice in Motion
190.          Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
191.          La Raza Centro Legal, San Francisco
192.          La Raza Community Resource Center
193.          LA RED, Faith in Action
194.          La Resistencia
195.          La Troupe Makandal
196.          Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center
197.          Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
198.          Latinas en Poder
199.          Law Office of Helen Lawrence
200.          Li Li Li Read
201.          Lila LGBTQ Inc.
202.          Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition
203.          Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy
204.          Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice
205.          Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention
206.          Loyola Law School – Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic
207.          Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
208.          Make the Road New York
209.          Mala Forever
210.          Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
211.          Memphis United Methodist Immigrant Fund
212.          Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
213.          Mercy Beyond Borders
214.          MH Global Immigration & Mobility Consulting
215.          Michigan People’s Campaign
216.          Migrant Center for Human Rights
217.          Mijente
218.          Mississippi Center for Justice
219.          Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project
220.          MomsRising/MamásConPoder
221.          Morongo Basin Coalition for Social Justice
222.          MoveOn
223.          NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
224.          National Association of Social Workers
225.          National Center for Parent Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Empowerment
     (National PLACE)
226.          National Conference of Black Lawyers
227.          National Education Association
228.          National Employment Law Project
229.          National Hispanic Media Coalition
230.          National Immigrant Justice Center
231.          National Immigration Law Center
232.          National Immigration Litigation Alliance
233.          National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice
234.          National Lawyers Guild
235.          National Lawyers Guild – Haiti Sub-Committee
236.          National Lawyers Guild International Committee
237.          National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights
238.          National Partnership for New Americans
239.          Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA)
240.          NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
241.          New Jersey Forum for Human Rights
242.          New York Immigration Coalition
243.          Nikkei Progressives
244.          Nommel gobble
245.          North Carolina Justice Center
246.          Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
247.          Northwest United Protestant Church
248.          Noupapdòmi
249.          NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic
250.          OBMICA
251.          Observatorio de adolescentes y jóvenes – IIGG-UBA
252.          Office of New Americans of Miami-Dade
253.          Ohio Immigrant Alliance
254.          ONECA
255.          Open Door Legal
256.          Open Immigration Legal Services
257.          Or Shalom Jewish Community (SF)
258.          Orange County Congregation Community Organization
259.          Orange County Equality Coalition
260.          Orange County Justice Fund
261.          Orange County Rapid Response Network
262.          Oregon Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice
263.          Organization for the Rehabilitation of the Environment
264.          Oxfam America
265.          Pangea Legal Services
266.          Pars Equality Center
267.          Pax Christi New Jersey
268.          People’s Budget Orange County
269.          Poder Latinx
270.          Presbyterian Church (USA)
271.          Presente.org
272.          Priority Africa Network
273.          Program for Torture Victims (PTVLA)
274.          Project Blueprint
275.          Public Counsel
276.          Public Interest Resource Center, Fordham Law School
277.          Public Law Center
278.          Quixote Center
279.          Racine Interfaith Coalition
280.          RAICES
281.          Rainbow Beginnings
282.          Rapid Defense Network (RDN)
283.          Refugee Congress
284.          Refugee Health Alliance
285.          Religious of Jesus and Mary
286.          Resilient Sisterhood Project
287.          Respond Crisis Translation
288.          Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
289.          Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network
290.          Roots of Development
291.          San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium
292.          San Francisco Public Defender
293.          Si
295.          Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team
296.          SoCal Presbyterian Immigrant Accompaniment
297.          South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
298.          Southern Border Communities Coalition
299.          Southern Poverty Law Center
300.          SSND Atlantic Midwest JPIC Dept
301.          St. Peters Lutheran Church  Harwich, MA
302.          Strength in Unity Global: a Haitian Coalition
303.          Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL)
304.          Tahirih Justice Center
305.          Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition
306.          Texas Civil Rights Project
307.          The Advocates for Human Rights
308.          The Black Collective
309.          The Children’s Partnership
310.          The Haitian American Nurses Association Incorporated
311.          The Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective
312.          The Law Offices Of Lacey N. Sipsey
313.          The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
314.          The Orange County Peace Coalition
315.          The Resurrection Project
316.          The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
317.          Transformations CDC
318.          Tsuru for Solidarity
319.          U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
320.          UndocuBlack Network
321.          Union for Reform Judaism
322.          Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
323.          Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice
324.          UNITE HERE
325.          United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
326.          United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1445
327.          United Stateless
328.          United We Dream Network
329.          University Christian Church
330.          University of Glasgow
331.          Unlocking Communities
332.          Vecindarios901
333.          Voces Unidas: Louisiana Immigrants Rights Coalition
334.          Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
335.          We Are All America
336.          Win Without War
337.          Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center
338.          Witness at the Border
339.          Women Working Together USA
340.          Women’s Refugee Commission
341.          Working Families United
342.          Yalla Indivisible
343.          Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
344.          Zanmi Lakay
Children and Families Sent to Harm by the US ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program
Failure of Protection under the US-Guatemala Asylum Cooperative Agreement

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