US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced Saturday an 18-month designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This humanitarian protection would allow an estimated 100,000 individuals to apply to remain lawfully in the US.
There are three statutory grounds for TPS designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. In Haiti, there have been political crises and human rights abuses, security concerns, and the exacerbation of a “dire economic situation and lack of access to food, water, and healthcare” due to COVID-19.
In January, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) warned of possible violent uprisings and government crackdowns amid political unrest in Haiti. In February, the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over the threat to judicial independence in Haiti after the arbitrary arrests of a Supreme Court justice and 22 other individuals.
Because of these conditions, Mayorkas decided to designate Haiti for TPS. Haitian nationals and individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti who were residing in the US as of May 21 are able to file initial applications for TPS, provided they meet eligibility requirements. The individuals must file with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services within the registration period beginning with publication in the Federal Register.