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May 8, 2024

Pressley, Haiti Caucus, Colleagues, Advocates Renew Calls for Federal Action to Stabilize Haiti, Address Growing Crisis on the Island

Lawmakers Continue Calls for Extending TPS for Haiti, Halting Deportations, Disrupting Arms Trafficking, Providing Humanitarian & Economic Assistance, and More

Press Conference (Twitter) | Photos (Dropbox)

WASHINGTON – Haiti Caucus Co-Chairs Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), along with Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), held a Capitol Hill press conference with colleagues and advocates to renew their calls for urgent federal action to address the growing crisis in Haiti. The press conference comes at a time when the humanitarian, political, economic, and security crises in Haiti are becoming increasingly dire. 

The policies called for by the lawmakers and advocates include: extending and redesignating TPS for Haiti; halting all deportations to Haiti; disrupting arms trafficking to the island; providing urgent humanitarian relief; preventing the transfer of Haitian nationals to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; passing a new economic assistance package that creates jobs and rebuilds Haiti’s infrastructure; facilitating the establishment of a representative transitional government led by Haitian civil society; and more.

“Our Haitian siblings on the island and throughout the diaspora should know that we have not forgotten them and we will never stop fighting for the just and equitable future the Haitian people need and deserve,” said Congresswoman Pressley, Co-Chair of the House Haiti Caucus. “Congress and the Biden Administration have a moral obligation to take action to stabilize Haiti and to save lives, including by providing humanitarian and economic assistance, extending TPS for Haiti, halting deportations, supporting a democratic transition led by Haitian civil society, and more. If we truly believe Black lives matter, then that must include Haitian lives.”

“Our nation owes a debt to Haiti. Repayment begins by helping ensure that a Haitian-led democracy rings true in their communities, in the United States, and across the globe. We must take every action necessary to secure a democratic transition led by Haiti’s civil society, and that includes providing vital humanitarian and economic aid, expediting visa processing, cracking down on illegal arms trafficking, and extending TPS and halting deportations. Congress has a responsibility to support Haitian stability and the safety of all its people, and it holds the power to deliver the progress our Haitian neighbors at home and abroad are counting on. In this dire moment where the future of our beloved Caribbean ally is at risk and millions of lives remain imperiled, inaction is inexcusable,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Co-Chair of the House Haiti Caucus.

“In the face of the crisis in Haiti, our moral compass and international duty compel us to step forward, not just to alleviate the immediate suffering of the Haitian people, but to address the systemic problems forcing Haitians to flee their homeland. The extension and re-designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), alongside an expedited parole program and an immediate halt to deportations, are critical first steps. But our responsibility does not end there. We must confront the root causes of migration by: (1) ensuring that Haitians can live safely and peacefully within their own borders; (2) taking a firm stand against the trafficking of firearms from places like Florida to Haiti; (3) holding those who perpetuate violence and instability accountable,” said Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus McCormick, Co-Chair of the House Haiti Caucus. “As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have a pulse on the challenges facing our allies around the world. Just as we have extended our support to them during their time of need, Haiti deserves the same treatment. The time for action is now – to protect lives, foster security, and promote stability where Haitians can thrive in their own country.”

“To deport people back to Haiti is a cause and kiss of death,” said Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. “There is nothing in Haiti but suffering, so we have to say to the President of the United States, ‘Stop the deportation.’ Not only expand TPS but stop the deportation and support the new government that we are putting together in Haiti. This government is being supported by the international community, the United States government, and the Caribbean community; it is Haitian-led. We must fund them—fund them just as we do other countries. Fund them! Fund them just like you fund other countries.”

The lawmakers were joined by Guerline Jozef, Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance, Patrice Lawrence, Executive Director of UndocuBlack Network, Mary Estimé-Irvin, Chairwoman of National Haitian American Elected Officials Network, Tessa Petit, Executive Director of Florida Immigrant Coalition, and impacted families and TPS recipients.

“It’s urgent for President Biden to re-designate and extend TPS for Haiti,” said Guerline Jozef, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Haitian Bridge Alliance. “Equally vital is for the United States Congress to pass an economic package supporting job creation and key infrastructure projects. Additionally, the Biden administration must immediately cease the deportation of Haitian nationals. Sending people to a country plagued by insecurity and humanitarian crises is  unconscionable. The disparate treatment of Black immigrants must come to an end!”

“UndocuBlack Network calls on the Biden- Harris administration to end the cruelty against Haitians. It is cruel to deport Haitian nationals while arranging for evacuation of American nationals at the same time. Our ask is simple, honor the dignity of Haitian people. If Secretary Mayorkas leads by these values, he will release Haitians from detention, extend and redesignate TPS for Haiti and stop the deportations now. To be the change President Biden claimed to be, he must act differently from his predecessors especially as it relates to Black immigrants,” said Patrice Lawrence, Executive Director, UndocuBlack Network.

“The painful reality of the Haitian people is complex and multi-layered.  However, the immediate steps that need to be taken can happen with the stroke of a pen. It is time for the Administration to redesignate and extend TPS for Haiti. It is also crucial that all deportation of Haitians be immediately halted,” said Tessa Petit, Executive Director, Florida Immigrant Coalition. “Haitians need security, justice, understanding and acceptance.  That will only be possible with the will from the administration to support Haiti by addressing its root causes, through a comprehensive humanitarian and economic support that will change the future of the Haitian people.”

“An economic plan akin to the Marshall Plan is essential to aid Haiti, which is located less than 90 miles from our shores, in addition to humanitarian assistance and the reconsideration of TPS,” said Mary Estimé-Irvin, Chairwoman, National Haitian American Elected Officials Network. “Like Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, Haiti is a sovereign nation that requires support.”

Footage from the press conference can be found here, and photos can be found here.

As Representative for the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District, Congresswoman Pressley serves as Co-Chair for the House Haiti Caucus and represents one of the largest Haitian diaspora communities 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.

  • On April 23, 2024, Rep. Pressley, alongside Co-Chairs Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), led a group of 50 lawmakers urging the Biden Administration to redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), pause on deportations back to Haiti, extend humanitarian parole to any Haitians currently detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention centers, end detention of Haitian migrants intercepted at sea, and provide additional humanitarian assistance for Haiti.
  • On April 18, 2024, Rep. Pressley and Haiti Caucus Co-Chairs led a letter to House Ways and Means Committee leadership emphasizing support for the early renewal of the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) and the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Acts, commonly known as HOPE/HELP. 
  • On April 12, 2024, Rep. Pressley joined Haitian-led activists, organizations, and a directly impacted person in Haiti for a press call urging federal action to address the worsening humanitarian crisis in Haiti.
  • On March 27, 2024, Rep. Pressley joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her colleagues on the Massachusetts congressional delegation in urging the Biden Administration to expedite visa processing for Haitians, particularly  for relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
  • On March 18, Rep. Pressley, Senator Markey, and the House Haiti Caucus led 67 lawmakers on a letter urging the Biden Administration to extend TPS for Haiti and halt deportations.
  • On March 12, 2024, Rep. Pressley and Haiti Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Cherfilus McCormick and Yvette Clarke issued a statement on the resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
  • On March 6, 2024, Rep. Pressley issued a statement on the recent jailbreak and State of Emergency in Haiti.
  • On December 8, 2023, Rep. Pressley and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke 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.
  • On December 6, 2022, Rep. Pressley issued a statement applauding the Biden Administration’s extension and re-designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti.
  • On December 1, 2022, Rep. Pressley, Rep. Cori Bush, and Rep. Mondaire Jones led 14 of their colleagues on a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging the Department to extend and redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • In September 2022, 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. 
  • In September 2022, 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.
  • On August 17, 2022, Rep. Pressley, along with Haiti Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Val Demings, Yvette Clarke, 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.
  • On July 7, 2022, Rep. Pressley and Haiti Caucus Co-Chairs 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.
  • On May 31, 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 April 2022, she joined her colleagues at a press conference reaffirming her support for President Biden’s decision to end Title 42. Full video of her remarks at the press conference is available here. Rep. Pressley applauded the Biden Administration’s end of Title 42 in a statement in April 2022.
  • On May 26, 2022, Rep. Pressley, along with with Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Andy Levin (MI-09), Jim McGovern (MA-02), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24), led a letter to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Power urging her to act to ensure food security in Haiti.
  • On March 16, 2022, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Mondaire Jones called on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky to fully end Title 42, cease deportations of people to Haiti and affirm their legal and fundamental human right to seek asylum.
  • On February 16, 2022, Rep. Pressley joined Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and 100 House and Senate colleagues in urging President Biden to reverse inhumane immigration policies – such as Title 42, originally introduced under the Trump Administration – that continue to disproportionately harm Black migrants.
  • On February 14, 2022, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), alongside Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27) and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), led 33 other House Democrats on a letter to Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.
  • On February 14, 2022, 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.
  • On January 12, 2022, Rep. Pressley and Haiti Caucus Co-Chairs Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Andy Levin (MI-09), and Val Demings (FL-10) released a statement on the 12-year anniversary of the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010.
  • On November 21, 2021, Rep. Pressley and Senator Elizabeth Warren led the Massachusetts congressional delegation on a letter to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) calling on them to coordinate with the government agencies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to assist newly arrived families from Haiti. 
  • On October 18, 2021, Rep. Pressley, and Haiti Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. 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.
  • On October 18, 2021, 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.
  • On October 22, 2021, Rep. Pressley, along with Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and Reps. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), sent a letter to Troy A. Miller, the Acting Administrator of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), demanding a briefing and answers regarding press reports of the inhumane treatment of migrants in Del Rio, Texas, by Border Patrol agents on horseback. 
  • On September 17, 2021, Rep. Pressley and Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07) led 52 of their colleagues calling on the Biden Administration to immediately halt deportations to Haiti and take urgent action to address the concerns of the Haitian Diaspora after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti.
  • On August 14, 2021, Rep. Pressley Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Andy Levin (MI-09) and Val Demings (FL-10) and Mondaire Jones (NY-17) released a statement regarding the recent earthquake in Haiti.
  • On July 14, 2021, Rep. Pressley and Haiti Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Andy Levin (MI-09) and Val Demings (FL-10) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas calling on him to take a series of steps to support the Haitian diaspora amid ongoing political turmoil in Haiti.
  • In July 2021, the Reps. Pressley, Clarke, Demings and Levin 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.
  • In May 2021, 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.