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Mass. congressional delegation seeks extended protection for Haitian immigrants

The Massachusetts congressional delegation sent a letter Thursday urging Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to renew and extend protected status for immigrants from Haiti, “given the country’s volatile and dangerous ongoing coup.”

In January 2023, the Biden administration extended temporary protection status, or TPS, for Haitian immigrants for 18 months. That extension began Feb. 4, 2023, and is set to expire on Aug. 1. “Haiti is a top country of origin for recent migrant arrivals,” and a redesignation and extension is warranted “to reflect the recent influx of Haitian nationals and its current crisis,” US Representatives Jake Auchincloss and Ayanna Pressley wrote.


In a country devastated by catastrophe after catastrophe, conditions have continued to worsen, forcing Haitians to flee in search of safety and security, the letter said.

Violent gangs have a stranglehold on the capital of Port au Prince, mass hunger has nearly 1 million Haitians close to famine, and scarcity of clean water and other basic services is exacerbating the aggression and fueling the destruction, the letter said.

“An additional redesignation and extension of the qualifying dates by which someone has to arrive and establish residency is desperately needed, as an increased number of Haitian migrants have fled and continue to flee to the United States,” the letter said.

The letter said that protected status was extended for Venezuelans in October, “due to the Department of Homeland Security’s review of country conditions, Similarly, we believe that an extension of TPS for Haitian nationals is warranted based on extraordinary and temporary conditions.”

The letter also noted that Governor Maura Healey had declared a state of emergency due to the influx of migrants from Haiti. The delegation asked again for increased federal assistance to the state to continue assisting migrants. “The Commonwealth’s resources must be supported with additional federal assistance and expedited work authorizations in order to provide migrants with the care and support that is desperately needed,” the lawmakers wrote.


The TPS program, which was created in a 1990 law, allows people who fled countries because of natural disasters and wars to come to the United States to live and work. In 2010, the Obama administration granted that protected status specifically to Haitians who arrived here following a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

The United States extended the protected status several times for Haitian immigrants following the 2010 earthquake, but President Donald Trump tried to end those efforts in 2019. The program remained in place, however, after Trump’s moves to end the program faced several court challenges.

Tonya Alanez can be reached at tonya.alanez@globe.com. Follow her @talanez.