Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced a new 18-month designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This new TPS designation enables Haitian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti) currently residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021 to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements.
“Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “After careful consideration, we determined that we must do what we can to support Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve so they may safely return home.”
After consultation with interagency partners, Secretary Mayorkas decided to designate Haiti for TPS due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Haiti that prevent nationals from returning safely, specifically, a political crisis and human rights abuses; serious security concerns; and the COVID-19 pandemic’s exacerbation of a dire economic situation and lack of access to food, water, and healthcare. The persistent effects of the 2010 earthquake have also exacerbated the severity of the extraordinary and temporary conditions in Haiti currently. The designation of Haiti for TPS also is not contrary to the national interest of the United States. A country may be designated for TPS based upon one or more of the three statutory grounds for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions.
It is important to note that TPS will apply only to those individuals who are already residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021 and meet all other requirements. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after this announcement will not be eligible for TPS and may be repatriated. Haiti’s 18-month designation will go into effect on the publication date of the Federal Register notice to come shortly. The Federal Register notice will provide instructions for applying for TPS and employment authorization documentation.
Individuals eligible for TPS under Haiti’s new designation must file an application for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within the registration period that will begin upon publication of the Federal Register notice. This includes current beneficiaries under Haiti’s TPS designation, who will need to file a new application to register for TPS to ensure they do not lose TPS or experience a gap in coverage. Individuals filing for TPS may also request an Employment Authorization Document and travel authorization. All individuals applying for TPS undergo security and background checks as part of determining eligibility.
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano initially designated Haiti for TPS in January 2010 based on extraordinary and temporary conditions within the country, specifically the effects of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. In 2011, Haiti’s designation was extended, and the country was also redesignated for TPS at the same time. Haiti’s designation was subsequently extended again for 18 months in 2013 and 2015, and for an additional six months in 2017.
In January 2018, a Federal Register notice announced termination of Haiti’s TPS designation effective July 22, 2019. Four separate lawsuits challenged that termination. Due to court injunctions and other rulings, TPS for Haiti remains in effect pending case outcomes. Existing TPS Haiti beneficiaries retain their TPS and TPS-related documents through October 4, 2021, and DHS will continue to extend the benefit and documents if required to comply with court orders. These beneficiaries are also eligible to apply under the new designation of Haiti to receive TPS for the entire 18-month period that will be described in the soon-to-be published Federal Register notice.