Homeland Security announced a new deportation amnesty for Haitians on Monday, citing ongoing unrest in the Caribbean nation as a reason the U.S. will allow its citizens who are already here — including illegal immigrants — to remain.
Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas renewed a previous grant of Temporary Protected Status, and also “redesignated” the country, meaning tens of thousands of people who arrived since his previous announcement can also sign up.
Both groups will now have a legal status through the middle of 2024.
“The conditions in Haiti, including socioeconomic challenges, political instability, and gang violence and crime – aggravated by environmental disaster – compelled the humanitarian relief we are providing today,” Mr. Mayorkas said.
The department did not say how many people it expects to take advantage.
Those taking advantage of the new designation must have arrived by Nov. 6.
Homeland Security said illegal immigrants arriving now won’t be eligible.
That rings somewhat hollow given that the administration made the same declaration in 2021, when it announced the previous grant — yet the tens of thousands who arrived since then are now eligible for the new status.
Indeed, a month after that last announcement Haitians flooded into the U.S., creating an unprecedented incursion into Del Rio, Texas.
Haitians created a camp on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande and went freely back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico.
The situation also sparked a crisis when Homeland Security ordered agents mounted on horseback to help corral the migrants.
Photos of one encounter were misinterpreted to suggest agents were whipping the migrants, sparking inaccurate criticism from President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
A review later found no migrants were whipped though several agents do still face ongoing disciplinary proceedings over accusations of acting inappropriately by insulting migrants.