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December 8, 2023

Pressley, Clarke Urge State Dept. to End Support for Armed Foreign Intervention in Haiti, Support Democratic Transition

“Rather than hastily address this situation by supporting an armed foreign intervention – a strategy that has been tried and failed several times in Haiti – we urge you to take a holistic approach.”

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON — Today, ahead of the 220th Anniversary of Haitian Independence Day, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Co-Chairs of the House Haiti Caucus, urged the U.S. Department of State to withdraw U.S. support for an armed foreign intervention in Haiti and encourage negotiations for a Haitian-led democratic political transition. The United Nations recently approved a U.S-drafted resolution supporting a Kenyan-led Multinational Security Support (MSS) in Haiti.

In their letter, the lawmakers expressed concern that a foreign military intervention further risks destabilizing the country, endangering more innocent people, and entrenching the current illegitimate regime.

“We are gravely concerned that an armed foreign intervention will only serve as a tool to buttress an illegitimate leader and undermine efforts by a representative transitional government to define the actual support desired from the international community.,” the lawmakers wrote. “The State Department should not override the will of the Haitian people – it is clear that a transitional government is the only viable path forward for Haiti to return to stability and democracy.”

To further save the lives of Haitians and reduce violence on the island, the lawmakers urged the Administration to swiftly block arms shipments to Haiti and hold weapons traffickers and gang financiers accountable for their actions.

“Countering this continued gun trafficking to Haiti is a critical step to the security and stability of the country. We urge you to work with the relevant government agencies, including the Department of Justice, to take the steps necessary to put a robust anti-arms trafficking to Haiti strategy in place,” the lawmakers wrote. “Rather than hastily address this situation by supporting an armed foreign intervention – a strategy that has been tried and failed several times in Haiti – we urge you to take a holistic approach.”

In addition to Reps. Pressley and Clarke, the letter was signed by Representatives Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Barabara Lee (CA-12), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), and James P. McGovern (MA-02).

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Rep. Pressley represents the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District, home to one of the largest Haitian diaspora communities in the country. As a founding co-chair of the House Haiti Caucus, Rep. Pressley has consistently supported a compassionate, humanitarian response to the overlapping crises in Haiti that centers Haitian civil society.

  • In August 2022, Rep. Pressley, along with Reps. Val Demings (FL-10), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), called on President Biden to appoint a new Special Envoy to Haiti, a position that has remained unfilled since September 2021. 
  • In July 2022, Rep. Pressley and Reps. Andy Levin (MI-09), Val Demings (FL-10) and Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) released a statement marking the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. 
  • In May 2022, Rep. Pressley and Reverend Dieufort Fleurissaint, chair of Haitian Americans United, published an op-ed in The Bay State Banner in which they called on the Biden administration to withdraw support for de facto ruler of Haiti, Ariel Henry, and instead support an inclusive, civil society-led process to restore stability and democracy on the island. 
  • In February, Reps. Pressley, Judy Chu (CA-27), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) led 33 other House Democrats on a letter to CDC Director Walensky demanding answers about the agency’s justification for treating asylum seekers as a unique public health threat, how these expulsions are being coordinated, how asylum seekers being returned to dangerous situations are being cared for, and more. Days later, Rep. Pressley once again called on the Biden Administration to reverse the Title 42 Order and other anti-Black immigration policies. 
  • Rep. Pressley has consistently called on the Department of Homeland Security to end the practice of expelling migrants under Title 42 and to employ alternative forms of humanitarian relief for detainees subject to deportation for the remainder of the pandemic. 
  • In September, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Velázquez 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.  
  • 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.