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May 18, 2021

On Haitian Flag Day, Reps. Pressley, Levin, Clarke and Demings Announce Formation of House Haiti Caucus

WASHINGTON – Today, on Haitian Flag Day, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09) and Congresswoman Val Demings (FL-10) released the following statement announcing the formation of the House Haiti Caucus.

“We come to Congress with vastly different backgrounds and from all corners of our country, yet we have found common ground in our deep commitment to the Haitian people and their wellbeing, as well as an intense desire to see Haitian democracy thrive. With this caucus, we will work for a Haiti free from corruption, violence, repeated violations of civil and human rights, and economic and public health crises. The ruling elite in Haiti has not served the people, but we have full confidence that if given the opportunity the Haitian people can overcome this challenge and establish a strong democracy that has justice and opportunity for all.

“This should be a turning point in the relationship between the United States and Haiti. There is no excuse to repeat past mistakes. Instead, we will lift and listen to the Haitian voices that must shape a democratic future that will serve all of Haiti’s people, not the few. To this end, we must proceed with policies that will foster a real relationship that engages meaningfully with the broad sweep of Haitian civil society in defense of Haiti’s democracy and civil rights. We strongly support a Haitian-led democratic transition.

“As the founding members of the House Haiti Caucus, we welcome any colleagues who wish to join us in pursuit of a more just foreign policy that puts the needs and aspirations of the Haitian people first. We hope that this caucus can serve as a convening body for those who wish to hear from Haitian civil society leaders or organize legislative actions concerning Haiti, and as a partner to work alongside the Biden administration in forging a new path forward for our country’s relationship with Haiti.”

Massachusetts is home to the third largest Haitian diaspora community in the country, with approximately 46,000 Haitians and Haitian-Americans living across the state and over half in the Boston metropolitan area. Additionally, Massachusetts is home to more than 4,700 Haitians with Temporary Protected Status.

In May 2019, she delivered remarks on the House floor in honor of Haitian Heritage Month, and has also questioned expert witnesses about the human rights crisis in Haiti during a December 2019 hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee entitled “Haiti on the Brink: Assessing U.S. Policy Toward a Country in Crisis.” In December 2019, Rep. Pressley held a roundtable with Haitian community leaders from her district to discuss the crisis and hear the stories of those most impacted.

Earlier this year, Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues on a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressing concern and demanding answers about the recent string of mass deportations of Haitian migrants to Haiti.

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