CLINIC, joined by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA, asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and State Department Secretary John Kerry to do more to care for and protect Haitians following Hurricane Matthew. In the Nov. 1 letter, the Catholic partners voiced grave concerns about DHS’ plans to resume regular removals of Haitians, which would result in more immigrants in detention and separation of more families.
DHS announced the plan to resume regular deportations to Haiti on Sept. 22. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti -- the poorest country in the Americas. News reports estimate the death toll from the hurricane at more than 1,000, with tens of thousands of Haitians left homeless. The hurricane’s destruction of critical medical infrastructure has exacerbated an ongoing cholera crisis, with thousands of suspected cases. On Oct. 12, Johnson announced DHS would temporarily suspend removal flights to Haiti.
While CLINIC and its Catholic partners commend DHS for temporarily halting deportations after Hurricane Matthew, the letter recommended steps to better address the needs of Haitians seeking protection from the humanitarian crisis. The recommendations include permanently halting the Haitian removal policy and reinstating humanitarian parole of Haitians who are at the U.S./Mexico border; redesignating Haiti for Temporary Protected Status; expanding the Cuban and Haitian family reunification parole programs and ensuring increased efforts to reunite Haitian families.
Read more about the conditions in Haiti and the recommendations here.