On March 12, the Center for American Progress submitted a statement for the record for a hearing before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs on “Policy Recommendations on Haiti for the Biden Administration.”
The statement lays out major policy options to support Haiti—including the region, its people, and Haitians residing in the United States. It outlines the current challenges Haiti is facing that threaten to further destabilize a country already trying to rebuild from a devastating earthquake in 2010, which was followed by a nationwide cholera outbreak and other natural disasters. Recently, Haiti has been experiencing an escalating political crisis amidst a rise in kidnappings and lawlessness. While the island nation has been spared of a second wave of COVID-19, not a single dose of vaccine had been administered in the country as of May 4, 2021. Nevertheless, Haitians in the United States are facing continued deportations even though their situation warrants urgent action.
The statement suggests several tools that the Biden administration should consider to offer safety, security, and opportunities for Haitians in the United States as well as in Haiti. First, it should immediately redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status. The current challenges in Haiti are “extraordinary and temporary” and make it unsafe for its nationals to return, and redesignating Haiti will protect Haitians from being returned to a country not prepared to receive them. Second, the Biden administration should restart the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, which offers a way for Haitian nationals to reunite with their family members in the United States. Third, the Biden administration should consider restoring the ability for Haitians to access H-2A programs provided that major concerns with the program, such as worker exploitation, are addressed.
CAP’s statement highlights that considering tools such as these will help stabilize the nation, its people, and the region.