Hundreds of Haitian advocate groups are urging the Biden administration to reject Title 42 and extend Haiti's Temporary Protected Status. File photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Hundreds of advocacy groups are calling on the Biden administration to reject Title 42 and extend a decades-old immigration program that protects Haitians from being deported from the United States.
The Haitian Bridge Alliance, that comprises 422 advocacy groups, sent a letter to President Joe Biden, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, asking them to extend Haiti's Temporary Protected Status designation.
"With a federal court striking down the use of Title 42 to summarily expel migrants, the undersigned immigration, civil rights and human rights leaders urge your administration to seize this opportunity to fulfill its promise to build a humane immigration system and comply with U.S. asylum laws," the human rights coalition said in the letter.
Extending Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, would provide citizens of Haiti more time to work and live in the United States regardless of their immigration status. The groups are also asking the United States to grant TPS benefits to Haitians who arrived in the country after July of 2021.
Citizens from other countries, including Ethiopia, Ukraine and Afghanistan, have all been granted TPS over the past year. TPS is usually granted to countries that have suffered through natural disasters or war.
"We all know that security in Haiti has worsened over the past year as criminal gangs continue to ravage parts of the country, leading to many killings and kidnappings," U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis told the United Nations Security Council in September.
"Civilians are being threatened, injured, sexually assaulted, or killed, and homes are being looted and burned by gang violence. The U.N. estimates that 1.5 million people, or nearly 50% of the capital's population, are directly affected by gang violence," the advocates said in the letter.
The last time the Biden administration redesigned TPS for Haiti was in March 2021, for the maximum time period of 18 months. Mayorkas has until Dec. 5 to grant an extension with Haiti's designation set to expire in a little over a year.
The Haitian advocates ended their letter by urging the Biden administration to work on a list of issues, that include processing more than 90,000 Haitian TPS applications from the last redesignation "over the coming days and weeks."
"We strongly urge the Biden administration to extend and redesignate Haiti for TPS," the groups recommended, "swiftly release the Federal Register Notice, provide a minimum 180-day registration period for both current TPS holders and new beneficiaries under redesignation, release all Haitians currently in immigration centers and halt deportation and expulsion flights to Haiti."