Mayorkas moves to shield hundreds of thousands from deportation back to troubled Caribbean nation


The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that it is shielding an extra 300,000 Haitian nationals from deportation and offering them work permits, citing the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorka said he is extending and redesignating Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months until February 2026. The redesignation allows Haitian immigrants, including those in the country illegally, who were not covered by prior designations to apply for the protection and for work authorization.

To be eligible, Haitians must have been in the U.S. as of June 3. DHS predicts that it will allow an estimated 309,000 additional nationals to file for TPS, on top of those already protected.

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks on Capitol Hill, on Wednesday, April 10. (AP/Mark Schiefelbein)

TPS grants protection for nationals in countries found to be unsafe for them to be returned and is based on three grounds: armed ongoing conflict, environmental disasters or “extraordinary and temporary conditions.” 

“Several regions in Haiti continue to face violence or insecurity, and many have limited access to safety, health care, food, and water. Haiti is particularly prone to flooding and mudslides, and often experiences significant damage due to storms, flooding, and earthquakes. These overlapping humanitarian challenges have resulted in ongoing urgent humanitarian needs,” DHS said in a release.

“We are providing this humanitarian relief to Haitians already present in the United States given the conditions that existed in their home country as of June 3, 2024,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “In doing so, we are realizing the core objective of the TPS law and our obligation to fulfill it.” 

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There are currently 16 countries designated for TPS, including Venezuela, Ukraine, Honduras, El Salvador and Afghanistan. Mayorkas re-designated Venezuela last year, a move expected to have protected over 470,000 nationals. 

The use of TPS has repeatedly sparked pushback from Republicans and immigration hawks, who say that the use of TPS encourages illegal immigration from those countries, with people coming in anticipation of the next redesignation. When the Venezuelan TPS redesignation was announced, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources told Fox News that the decision will only compound the problem at the border and draw even more Venezuelan migrants because of the “pull” factor of being granted TPS status and the ability to get work authorization.

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Unaccompanied minors walk toward U.S. Border Patrol vehicles after crossing over from Mexico on May 9, 2023, in El Paso, Texas. A surge of immigrants is expected with the end of the U.S. government’s COVID-era Title 42 policy, which for the past three years has allowed for the quick expulsion of irregular migrants entering the country.  (John Moore/Getty Images)

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There were 163,781 encounters of Haitian nationals at the border in Fiscal Year 2023, and that number has already been exceeded in Fiscal Year 2024. The Biden administration has also allowed Haitians to be flown into the U.S. for parole as part of the parole processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans (CHNV). That program allows 30,000 nationals into the country each month.

The U.S. has been facing a three-year crisis at the southern border, which has become a top political issue ahead of the November election.

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Republicans have blamed the crisis on border policies implemented by the Biden administration, which in turn has said it needs more funding and reforms from Congress, blaming Republican obstruction.

It has taken a number of moves to tackle the crisis, including a new limit on asylum applications and a “parole in place” for some spouses of U.S. citizens. The administration has noted that there has been a 40% drop in encounters since the limit was announced, but Biden took heat from former President Trump on Thursday over his handling of the crisis.

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“He’s the one that killed people with the bad border including hundreds of thousands of people dying, and also killing our citizens when they come in. We are living right now in a rat’s nest,” Trump said in Thursday’s debate.





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