Contact: Leah Chavla, 202-415-5666
Washington, D.C. — Following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti this past Saturday, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) urges the Biden administration to immediately halt deportations and expulsion flights to Haiti.
WRC is deeply concerned that the administration may continue to deport or expel families or individuals to Haiti, despite the tremendous devastation wreaked by the earthquake, including at least 1,297 people who lost their lives; thousands more who are injured and/or displaced; structural damage and risk of collapse to thousands of buildings and homes; and areas of the country that are cut off due to damaged roads and bridges. In addition, the country is still reeling from the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in early July of this year, and by the recent murder of a clerk investigating the case. Haiti is also expected to face further devastation with the imminent arrival of tropical depression Grace, threatening flash flooding and mudslides in some of the same areas affected by the earthquake.
“It is crystal clear that now is not the time for the United States to be forcibly removing anyone to Haiti, and frankly it has been dangerous to do so for months now,” said Leah Chavla, senior policy advisor at WRC. “Sending people back in the midst of a natural disaster—and one that could be aggravated in coming days by a tropical depression, on top of political turmoil and violence following the recent assassination of the president—will only exacerbate human suffering. Deportations under these circumstances will further destabilize Haiti in a moment when it needs support from the international community.
“WRC welcomed the Biden administration’s decision to redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in May and applauded the extension of eligibility for TPS through the end of July 2021. We call on the administration to again do its part by halting deportations and expulsions of Haitians and by sending much-needed resources to relief organizations that center and directly support affected communities in Haiti.”
Learn more about WRC’s work on immigration detention.