October 18, 2021
Rep. Pressley & Haiti Caucus Statement on Haitian Kidnappings
BOSTON – Today, House Haiti Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Val Demings (FL-10), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), and Andy Levin (MI-09) issued a statement following the kidnapping of American and Canadian missionaries in Haiti over the weekend.
“As co-chairs of the House Haiti Caucus we call for the safe and immediate release of the Americans and Canadian citizen kidnapped in Haiti this weekend. The U.S. government must continue current efforts to secure their release.
“Our outrage and concern must extend beyond this kidnapping. For too long, hundreds of Haitian civilians have been victimized by ruthless organized perpetrators terrorizing Haiti. This weekend’s events underscore the State Department’s warnings: travel to Haiti is not safe. We again call for a halt to deportations to Haiti, which needlessly place innocent individuals and families in extremely dangerous situations.
“The only way out of this crisis is to eliminate the root causes fueling these inexcusable violent gangs. The U.S. and international community have an obligation to strongly support Haitian-led efforts to bring about a real and accountable democracy, stabilize their country, end the violence, bring the guilty to justice, and keep the Haitian people safe.”
Earlier today, Rep. Pressley issued a statement on the civil rights complaint filed by Haitian families demanding a federal investigation into the heinous actions perpetrated by federal officials at the border.
Last month, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07) led 54 of their colleagues on a letter calling on the Biden Administration to immediately halt deportations to Haiti and provide humanitarian parole protections for those seeking asylum. The lawmakers’ letter followed the Administration’s resumption of deportation flights to Haiti as thousands of Haitian migrants continue to await an opportunity to make an asylum claim at the border.
Last month, Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues on the House Oversight Committee in demanding answers regarding the inhumane treatment of migrants in Del Rio, Texas, by Border Patrol agents on horseback and pushing to Biden Administration to end the ongoing use and weaponization of Title 42.
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, on Haitian Flag Day, Reps. Pressley, Levin, Clarke and Demings announced the formation of the House Haiti Caucus, a Congressional caucus dedicated to pursuing a just foreign policy that puts the needs and aspirations of the Haitian people first.
In July, the lawmakers issued a statement condemning the assassination of President Moïse and calling for swift and decisive action to bring political stability and peace to Haiti and the Haitian people. Later that month, the lawmakers wrote to DHS Secretary Mayorkas calling on him to take a series of steps to support the Haitian diaspora following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.