Uniting For A Cause: Congresswoman Yvette Clark Takes Action For Haitians Seeking Asylum In The US

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Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and the co-chairs of the Haiti Caucus, Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), are calling on the Biden Administration to assist Haitians seeking asylum in the U.S.

More than 50 legislators have signed onto a letter, urging the White House to change their stance on providing humanitarian aid to the Caribbean nation during this time of crisis.

“We urge the Administration to redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), halt deportations back to Haiti, and extend humanitarian parole to any Haitians currently detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) detention centers,” the letter reads.

“Additionally, we request your administration’s end to the detention of Haitian migrants who were interdicted at sea,” the lawmakers continued. “The possibility of transferring them to Guantánamo Bay naval base and other offshore migrant detention centers is concerning and must not be explored.”

“In addition, we are asking that you provide humanitarian assistance to help Haitians navigate these tragically traumatic and difficult times,” states the letter which was also endorsed by 140 advocacy groups and organizations.

What has been going on in Haiti? According to associate anthropology professor Greg Beckett, “What we’re seeing in Haiti has been building since the 2010 earthquake.”

But tensions began running particularly high after democratically elected President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in 2021. His death caused a power vacuum, and Ariel Henry, who had been prime minister under the former president, “assumed power, with the support of several nations, including the U.S.”  

Under Henry’s rule, the Caribbean nation did not have elections on multiple instances, which Henry attempted to blame on “logistical problems or violence.” Protests ensued, and “[b]y the time Henry announced last year that elections would be postponed again, to 2025, armed groups that were already active in Port-au-Prince, the capital, dialed up the violence,” NBC News reports.

“January and February have been the most violent months in the recent crisis, with thousands of people killed, or injured, or raped,” said Beckett. Per a report from the United Nations, in January 2024 “more than 8,400 people were killed, injured or kidnapped in 2023, an increase of 122% increase from 2022.”

Last week, Henry tendered his resignation, and a “nine-member transitional council, where seven members will have voting powers, is expected to help set the agenda of a new cabinet. It will also appoint a provisional electoral commission, which will be required before elections planned for 2026 can take place. They are also set to establish a national security council,” Al Jazeera reports.

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