WASHINGTON—On May 22, the Biden Administration announced that it would redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS allows foreign nationals to remain and work in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for them to return to their home country. Saturday’s announcement is valid for a period of eighteen months and can be renewed by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, welcomed the announcement. Their statement follows: “We are grateful for this decision to redesignate Haiti for TPS, which acknowledges the serious challenges facing the island nation, including widespread violence, civil unrest, political instability, and food insecurity. Haiti is widely recognized as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
The Church in Haiti has been directly impacted by the unprecedented levels of gang activity—with targeted kidnappings of clergy, religious, and lay persons in recent months—adding to the need for an urgent response. “We stand with our brother bishops in condemning the lawlessness, and we join them in their solidarity with victims. We urge the Haitian government and President Moïse to act in the best interests of the Haitian people by respecting and upholding their rights and dignity. We also call on the Biden Administration to address the desperate conditions plaguing the country through diplomatic and humanitarian measures. “This weekend, the Catholic Church celebrated the feast of Pentecost, where we were reminded of our unity through the Holy Spirit—a unity that transcends nations. Let us pray for peace in Haiti. May Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, patroness of Haiti, be a source of comfort and strength for all Haitians.”