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Despite widespread outcry from advocates and the President’s own condemnation of the abuses at the hands of Customs and Border Protection, the Biden administration continues to ramp up deportations for thousands of Haitians at the U.S. southern border.

In response, FCNL joined 177 faith organizations and 1,947 faith leaders and people of faith from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Haiti in calling on the Biden Administration to stop deportation flights to Haiti, hold CBP officers accountable for abuses, and provide humanitarian protections for Haitians.


Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Mayorkas, and Secretary Blinken:

As 177 faith-based organizations and 1,947 faith leaders and people of faith representing diverse faith communities, we write to you today to express our shock and dismay at the Biden administration’s decision to resume deportation and expulsion flights to Haiti without regard for the human consequences posed to the men, women, and children being deported, or concern for the multiple compounding political and environmental crises impacting the Haitian people. Moreover, we are deeply disturbed by the horrific and inhumane treatment of Haitians seeking refuge at the U.    S.-Mexico border at the hands of Border Patrol officers. We call on you to:

  1. Immediately halt deportation flights through a humanitarian moratorium and release Haitians in immigration detention;
  2. End Title 42 expulsions and safely resume asylum;
  3. Ensure that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers responsible for abuses against Haitian migrants are held accountable; and,
  4. Vigorously pursue all administrative actions to protect Haitians from deportation, such as a TPS redesignation or DED, and explore opportunities to utilize humanitarian parole for Haitian arrivals.

These are necessary ways that the U.S. can extend a welcome to Haitian migrants fitting of our values. Solely relying on outdated and inhumane enforcement practices is short-sighted and immoral. We also continue to urge that the administration consider measures to address the factors driving forced displacement of Haitians.

The back-to-back disasters of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that occurred on August 14th, tropical storm Grace, and subsequent widespread landslides have devastated a country already reeling from the political and economic turmoil resulting from the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse only a month before. With a total of 800 thousand people affected, over 2,200 people killed, 12,200 injured, and 130,000 homes destroyed, it is cruel and immoral for the Biden administration to send a message of deterrence by deporting people seeking safety back to those conditions. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 45 percent of the population in Haiti already faces acute food insecurity. The Haitian government and the families of those being deported are not prepared to meet their basic needs or ensure their safety.

The Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs were enacted exactly for situations such as this. Employment authorization for current beneficiaries under the 2011 TPS designation for Haiti was automatically extended until at least December 2022.

Additionally, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas recently announced that due to the grave conditions in the country, TPS for Haiti would be designated for 18 months effective August 3, 2021. Both decisions represent a recognition by the U.S. government that the conditions are too dire for anyone to be forcibly returned, and yet this decision cruelly excludes those arriving at the
U.S.-Mexico border following the 7.2 earthquake.

Given these realities, we call upon the Biden Administration to:

  1. Once again update the continuous presence date to be eligible for TPS in the U.S. to August 14 or later; and,
  2. Issue a DED designation for Haitians in the U.S. because current processing times for TPS applications and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) application processing are as long as a year. A DED designation would provide immediate protection from deportation.

It does not go unnoticed that Black immigrants are often targets of the largest mass expulsions from the U.S. Mass migration from Haiti does not occur simply in response to natural disasters - it is closely tied to harmful, racist U.S. and Western foreign policies toward Haiti going back to 1804 when the country was founded by formerly enslaved people who fought for and won their freedom. We must address not only our treatment of Haitian migrants, but also our treatment of Haiti and the Haitian people, and begin to listen to their own solutions for their country’s needs, such as the proposals put forward by the civil society-based Commission for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis. The period of 2015-2024 has been named the UN International Decade for People of African Descent, which among other things, is a time to renew the cause to name the colonial and white supremacist roots of destabilized communities. With this, the faith organizations and faith leaders here reaffirm their solidarity and support for all people of African-descent.

Haitian asylum-seekers are not only pursuing what is their legal right. They are also challenging us all to live in full alignment with our religious and spiritual values, which implore us to welcome the stranger and not to turn our back on those in need. Late last month President Biden stated that, “human rights must be at the center of our foreign policy, not the periphery.” Yet the expulsion of Haitian immigrants from the U.S. southern border illustrates just the opposite. We must back up bold statements with actions.

We strongly stand by the words of Haitian Bridge Alliance Executive Director, Guerline Josef, who said,

“We are in utter disbelief that the Biden Administration would deport Haitians now. Hours after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, President Joe Biden released a statement saying that the United States was a ‘friend’ of Haiti. A ‘friend’ does not continuously inflict pain on another friend.”

The deportation flights must end.

The use of Title 42 to justify those expulsions must end.

The U.S. must renew TPS designation for Haiti to more expansively ensure the safety of those who need it.

We honor the determination, dignity, and resilience of Haitians in the camps under the Del Rio bridge who have journeyed to the U.S. border believing in the promise of safety and opportunity. As people of faith we hear the cry of the forsaken and vulnerable. We answer back, and urge you to join us.

Respectfully,

Faith Organizations:

Accompaniment & Sanctuary Coalition Colorado Springs
ADL (Anti-Defamation League)
African American Ministers In Action
All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena
All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Shreveport, Louisiana Alliance of Baptists
AllianceQ - Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance
American Friends Service Committee
Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park
Austin Region Justice for Our Neighbors
Austin Zen Center
Beacon Presbyterian Fellowship
Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Belmont Neighbors Against Racism
Beraca Baptist Church
Beyond the Walls
Border Church/ Iglesia Fronteriza
Border Crit Institute
Bridges Faith Initiative
BWC - Peace with Justice Committee
Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego
Celebration Lutheran Church
Center for Justice & Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University Central Washington Justice For Our Neighbors
Chicago Benedictines for Peace
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
Chobo-Ji Zen Temple
Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice
Church of the Ascension
Church of the Brethren, Office of Peacebuilding and Policy Church World Service
Clarendon Road Church
Coalition for Spiritual and Public Leadership (CSPL) Community Church of Durham (UCC)
Community of Christ
Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim
Congregation Action Network
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul USA Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel
Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries
Earth Justice Ministries
Echoes Bellingham
Edgehill United Methodist Church
Eglise Pentecotiste de Pecheurs d’Hommes
Faith Action Network
Faith in Action
Faith in Action International
Faith in Indiana
Faith in New Jersey
Faith in New York
Faith in Public Life
Faithful America
Faiths for Safe Water
Fellowship Southwest
First Baptist
First Baptist Church/MPAC
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Tucson, AZ First Lutheran Church, Bothell, WA
First Parish in Brookline
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Friends of Latin America
Frontera de Cristo
Global Ministries (DOC and UCC)
Granite State Interfaith Action Fund
Grassroots Leadership
Great Plains Rapid Response Immigration Team
Harvard Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Students
Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, USA-JPIC
Houston Coalition Against Hate
Hyde Park Refugee Project
Interfaith Alliance of Colorado
Interfaith Coalition on Immigration, MN
Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants
JAMAAT - Jews and Muslims and Allies Acting Together
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
Jewish Coalition for Immigrant Justice NW
Just Haiti, Inc.
Just Neighbors
Justice For Our Neighbors - North Central Texas
Justice Revival
Knox Presbyterian Church
Latino Ministries Association, Evenglecial Lutheran Church of America Leadership Conference  of Women Religious
Logos International Fellowship, Inc.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Maranatha Indonesian UCC
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Maryland Legislative Coalition
Massachusetts Communities Action Network
Massachusetts Council of Churches
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR)
Middle Collegiate Church
Missouri Faith Voices
Missouri Faith Voices, A Faith in Action Federation
MN Conference United Church of Christ
MO State Conference NAACP
Muslim American Society- Public Affairs and Civic Engagement
National Council of Churches USA
National Council of Jewish Women
National Justice for Our Neighbors
Nativity Lutheran Church Weeki Wachee
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
New Creation Ministries Inc
New England Synod ELCA Task Force on Refugees & Immigration
New Hampshire Council of Churches
New Hope Christian Fellowship
New York State UUs for Justice
NM Comunidades en Accion y de Fe (CAFe)
North Carolina Council of Churches
Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation at the Stuart Center
Order of Lutheran Franciscans
Pax Christi USA
Peace & Social Concerns Committee of the Multnomah Monthly Friends Meeting Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Carlsbad, CA
Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California
Plymouth Church UCC Immigration Ministry Team
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Presbytery of the Pacific
Provincial Council Clerics of St. Viator
Public Issues Committee of the LI Council of Churches Quixote Center
Reflections Church
Rime Buddhist Center
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Seattle First Baptist Church
Service Jésuite aux Migrants-Haiti (SJM-Haïti)
Sisters of  St. Francis of Philadelphia
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team
Sisters of Social Service of Los Angeles
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Sisters of the Most Precious Blood
Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary
Sojourners
Soto Zen Buddhist Association
St Lukes Episcopal Church, North Park
St. Andrew Lutheran Church
St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (IFCLA) St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Detroit
Strangers No Longer
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
TBS New Direction
Tennessee Justice for Our Neighbors
Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry
The Church Council of Greater Seattle
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Freedom BLOC
The Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Action New Hampshire
Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Church of Pensacola, Florida
Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida
Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio
Unitarian Universalist Mass Action
Unitarian Universalist Refugee & Immigrant Services & Education Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
University Lutheran Church
University Temple United Methodist Church
University Unitarian Church
Upaya Zen Center
UU Church in Cherry Hill Committee on Racial and Economic Equity UU FaithAction New Jersey
Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture
Wellington United Church of Christ
Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration
White Rabbit Grove RDNA
Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice

 

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