Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

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Detention and Deportations of Noncriminal Haitians Arriving from Mexico

On September 22, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began detaining for “expedited removal” (deportation) noncriminal Haitians appearing at Mexico-US border crossings; deportations began on November 3 and 8, despite the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew a few weeks earlier, and number about 300 per week on three weekly flights to Haiti.  DHS is detaining about 3,000+ of them in dozens of facilities remote from any available attorneys and Creole interpreters, facilitating their deportation in violation of their right to assert political asylum claims.  Among other steps, IJDH has created the Haiti Deportations Response Network (HDRN) to recruit attorneys and interpreters to address the crisis.  Relevant articles are below.

On February 26, Jamaica Observer reported that a Haitian legislator and community organization are petitioning the Trump administration to renew TPS for Haitians.

On February 17, AZ Central reports that “U.S. accelerates deportation of Haitian migrants“.

On February 10, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke proposed legislation to expand TPS for Haitians.

On January 26, Caribbean360 quoted Steve Forester in their article “Haitians in US Dreading Deportation“.

In their December 24, 2016 op-ed, Steve Forester (IJDH) and Marleine Bastien (FANM) urged president Obama to broaden TPS for Haitians.

ACTION ALERT: Stop Haiti deportations, redesignate TPS and expand HFRP (urged calling the White House, Congress and the Department of Homeland Security on Monday, December 19)

On December 13, “Thousands of Haitian migrants amassed at U.S.-Mexico border unsure what’s next petition, “End Cholera and Protect Haitians in the US”

On November 10, U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson issued a press release denouncing the resumption of deportation flights to Haiti.

On November 8, NewsDeeply reported on the “Humanitarian Crisis on U.S. Border: Haitians Stranded by Policy

On November 8, the “U.S. government quietly resumes deportations to Haiti” as news about Hurricane Matthew died down.

On November 4, “Feds eye Ohio prison for housing Haitian illegal immigrants

On November 2, U.S. Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke called on Obama Administration to immediately halt deportations of Haitian nationals. petition, “End Cholera & Aid Elections in Haiti; Protect Haitians in US,” based on the October 20 Florida leaders’ letter below (garnered about 4,500 endorsers).

On November 1, national Catholic leaders wrote U.S. Secretaries Jeh Johnson (DHS) and John Kerry (State) urging redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), expanding the Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP) and more.

On October 20, 51 Florida groups and leaders wrote Hillary Clinton urging redesignating TPS and expanding HRFP, among other actions.

On October 18, the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board urged both TPS redesignation and HFRP expansion.

On October 13, Senator Bill Nelson co-sponsored a letter from 12 U.S. Senators urging TPS redesignation in light of Matthew.

On October 13, U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson urged re-designation of TPS and expanding HFRP.

On October 12, U.S. Congressman Alcee Hastings wrote President Obama urging redesignation of TPS.

On October 8, the New York Times editorial board urged TPS re-designation and a halt to deportations in light of Hurricane Matthew.

On October 5, a bipartisan letter to President Obama from 57 U.S. Representatives, co-sponsored by Rep. Frederica Wilson and circulated before Matthew struck Haiti, strongly urged reinstatement of the pre-September 22 parole and non-removal policy.

In their September 27 op-ed, Steve Forester (IJDH) and Marleine Bastien (FANM) urged expanding the HFRP (paragraphs 3-11).


Reunite Haitian Fams 3

The department of homeland security since September 22, 2016 has been detaining at facilities throughout the US as many as 5,000 Haitians seeking entry to the US at Mexico-US border crossings. Since November 3, 2016, it has resumed noncriminal deportations (“removals”) to Haiti despite their unsafeness, Hurricane Matthew’s vast devastation in October, and Haiti’s inability to assimilate the deportees. The removals, which are from the detainee population and at a rate of two flights weekly, number an estimated 270 Haitians per week.

Hurricane Matthew’s devastation in Haiti underscored the need to re-designate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and to expand the severely limited Haitian Family Reunification Program (HFRP) to save lives and help Haiti recover by generating life-sustaining remittances.

A few days after the 2010 earthquake, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity (DHS) des­ig­nated Haiti for TPS because deportations were unsafe; in 2011, DHS re-designated TPS to protect those present in the United States by January 12, 2011. But no one who arrived thereafter is eligible, and DHS on September 22, 2016 announced that it would resume Haiti deportations. Thousands of Haitians who have arrived since then are now detained.

Hurricane Matthew’s broad devastation makes deporting anyone to Haiti unsafe and warrants re-designating Haiti TPS to protect all Haitians currently in the United States. Haiti’s government is in no position to receive deportees. Re-designation would save lives, unite families, and generate remittances key to sustaining families in Haiti.

Further, as outlined in the Miami Herald op-ed and in the October 20 letter from 51 Florida-based organizations and leaders, DHS should expand the arbitrarily limited HFRP. It should also immediately release from detention thousands of non-criminal Haitians detained since September 22.

Learn more about HFRP and TPS HERE.

Articles & Letters

Stranded Haitian migrants seek new home on Mexico-U.S. border – Reuters, March 16, 2017

Thousands Of Deported Haitians And Africans Wait To Cross The Border In Tijuana – Konbini, March 13, 2017

Haitians in US Dreading Deportation – Caribbean360, January 26, 2017

Here’s why Obama should broaden TPS for Haitians – Miami Herald, December 24, 2016

Tijuana welcomes Haitian immigrants stuck at U.S.-Mexico borderPBS Newshour, December 23, 2016

Dear President Obama, while there is time – Medium, December 20, 2016

Haitian-American Elected Officials Ask President Obama to Expand Family Reunification – South Florida Caribbean News, December 16, 2016

7,000 miles to salvation – The Washington Post, December 16, 2016

Thousands of Haitian migrants amassed at U.S.-Mexico border unsure what’s next – AZ Central, December 13, 2016

Haitians alarmed by renewed U.S. deportations as Trump era loomsUPI, December 8, 2016

U.S. picking up pace of deportations to Haiti – Miami Herald. November 23, 2016

US congresswoman Clarke calls on White House to halt deportations of Haitians November 10, 2016

Press release: Congresswoman Frederica Wilson on resumption of deportation flights to Haiti November 10, 2016

Sens. Menendez and Nelson Lead TPS Request for Haitians in Wake of Hurricane Matthew – October 13, 2016

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand Urge DOS and DHS to Grant TPS to Haitians – October 12, 2016

Hastings Urges President Obama to Expand TPS for Haitians Affected by Hurricane Matthew – October 12, 2016

Congressman Hastings Urges Expansion of TPS for Haitians After Hurricane Matthew – October 12, 2016

Church World Service Demands TPS, No Deportation for Haitians – October 12, 2016

After stay of Haitian deportation policy, local leaders encouraged but still fightingMiami Herald. October 12, 2016

US policy on deporting Haitians on hold in wake of hurricaneThe Washington Post. October 11, 2016

Activists Call Haitian Deportation Policy “Abomination”CBS Local Miami. October 10, 2016

Deportation to a disaster zone: Obama under pressure to stop crackdown on Haitian migrants as Hurricane Matthew wreaks havoc on islandSalon. October 7, 2016

Haiti’s New CatastropheThe New York Times. October 7, 2016

Bipartisan letter (attached) from 57 US Reps Urges President Obama to Halt Haiti Deportation Policy – October 6, 2016

Haitian Men Cut Off From Families as U.S. Tightens Entry RulesThe New York Times. September 29, 2016

Obama’s contradictory stance toward black asylum seekersThe Hill. September 28, 2016

New policy to deport Haitians is inhumaneMiami Herald. September 27, 2016

U.S. tightens immigration policy on undocumented Haitians – Humanosphere. September 26, 2017

Haitians, After Perilous Journey, Find Door to U.S. Abruptly ShutThe New York Times. September 23, 2016

Uncertainty for Haitians in TijuanaSan Diego Union Tribune. September 23, 2016

Haitian Reunification fight to continue, activists sayMiami Herald. October 21, 2014

Obama to expedite U.S. entry for thousands of HaitiansMiami Herald. October 17, 2014


ACTION ALERT: Stop Haiti deportations, redesignate TPS and expand HFRP – Calls were made to the White House, Congress and the Department of Homeland Security on Monday, December 19.

End Cholera and Protect Haitians in the US – petition to the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and President Barack Obama.

End Cholera & Aid Elections in Haiti; Protect Haitians in US – About 4,500 people endorsed this petition to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate

Action Alert to DHS: Ensure the well-being of Haitians affected by Hurricane Matthew – Email/letter to President Obama’s DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson

Tell President Obama to Reverse Deportation Policy Against Haitian Refugees! – Petition to President Obama

The Humanitarian Crisis in Haiti is Closer Than You Think – Petition to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson

URGENT: Tell DHS Secretary Johnson to Protect Haitians – Urged calling Congress


Haitian Immigration Rights – General

Click HERE for links to over 80 editorials, resolutions, political letters, op-eds, petitions, and other support urging the President and DHS to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program.

*If you’re looking for information on the Dominican Republic’s citizenship crisis, click HERE.*


IJDH TPSIJDH’s immigration advocacy is built on three decades of leadership in ensuring a safe haven in the U.S. for Haiti’s persecuted.  We seek creation of a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program to save lives, reunite families, expedite orderly migration and speed recovery by increasing the flow of remittances to loved ones in Haiti. The Haiti Asylum Information Project (HAIP), established in 2004, has provided asylum applicants from across Haiti’s political spectrum the expert testimony and country condition information they need to present strong cases. Our Stop Deportations Now Campaign, the platform for years-long Temporary Protected Status (TPS) advocacy in Congress, the media, and the streets led to the suspension of all non-criminal deportations to Haiti in early 2009 and facilitated the immediate grant of TPS to Haitians in the United States after Haiti’s January 12, 2010 earthquake.

Expediting Haitian Family Reunification

IJDH leads nationwide advocacy urging the Obama administration to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP).  Nearly 110,000 Haitians are beneficiaries of family-based immigrant visa petitions which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already approved but who remain on wait lists of up to more than 12 years in Haiti, where many may not survive.  A Cuban FRPP expedites family reunification for similarly-situated Cuban beneficiaries; IJDH has built extensive support and momentum for creation of a similar Haitian program. Our campaign succeeded on October 17, 2014, when DHS announced it would implement an HFRPP in early 2015 to expedite the entry into the U.S. of approved beneficiaries whose visas are within two years of becoming current. While thrilled with this development, which should help thousands, we will seek to expand coverage of the new program to include all DHS-approved beneficiaries in Haiti, many of whom are on wait lists of up to 12 years (not just two), and closely monitor its implementation to seek to insure its maximum effectiveness.

Click HERE for links to letters, resolutions, editorials, reports, petitions and op-eds urging creation of a Haitian FRPP to save lives and speed Haiti’s recovery.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

On Jan­u­ary 21, 2010, after years of IJDH advo­cacy and a dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake nine days ear­lier, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity (DHS) des­ig­nated Haiti for Tem­po­rary Pro­tected Sta­tus (TPS) for 18 months. In May, 2011, DHS extended TPS for another 18 months to Jan­u­ary 22, 2013, and redes­ig­nated it to include Haitians who had arrived in the United States by Jan­u­ary 12, 2011, one year after the quake. On Octo­ber 1, 2012, DHS extended TPS for Haiti for another 18 months, to July 22, 2014.  Most recently, on March 3, 2014, DHS extended TPS for another 18 months, through January 22, 2016. As always, Haitians seek­ing TPS pro­tec­tion and work autho­riza­tion must apply indi­vid­u­ally, meet­ing eli­gi­bil­ity require­ments described by DHS’s United States Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Ser­vices (USCIS).
TPS pro­tects most Haitians in the United States from depor­ta­tion to Haiti, and IJDH works with a broad range of advo­cates to trouble-shoot TPS imple­men­ta­tion issues as they arise.

Calls for re-designating TPS (and expanding HFRP) after Hurricane Matthew are HERE.

Haitian Asylum Information Project (HAIP)

The Haitian Asylum Information Project (HAIP) is an online resource library for asylum applicants and their lawyers. It contains key documents, contact information, and model pleadings to facilitate the filing of successful Haitian asylum cases.
Click HERE to learn more about HAIP.

Stop Deportations Now Campaign

Click HERE to learn more about the campaign.

Take Action

Take action now for fair immigration policy toward Haitians. Make your voice heard by signing petitions, writing to or calling your representatives, and getting up-to-date information about Haitian immigration.

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
15 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (617) 652-0876
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