In a joint statement issued on Dec. 15, Amnesty International and seven other organizations called upon the Biden administration to end all expulsions and deportations of Haitians who enter the United States illegally or seek admission without proper documents. The groups want the United States to provide the Haitians with access to its asylum system.

They claim that the expelled Haitians are being returned to a humanitarian nightmare that includes widespread gang violence, an ongoing political crisis, devastation following a recent earthquake, and a COVID-19 risk in a country where vaccination rates reportedly are around 0.4 percent.

Asylum isn’t the solution

The Haitians need help, but the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not provide asylum for aliens who are fleeing from the humanitarian nightmare the joint statement describes.

Section 1158(b)(1)(A) of the INA limits asylum eligibility to aliens who are refugees within the meaning of section 1101(a)(42)(A) of the INA, which provides that a “refugee’” is a person who is outside of his own country and unwilling to return to it because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Temporary Protected Status isn’t the solution either

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is for aliens who are already in the United States, have lived here for a specified period of time, and can’t return to their own countries because their countries are experiencing an ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent them from returning in safety.

The United States recently granted TPS for 18 months to Haitians who have continuously resided in the United States since July 29, 2021, and have been continuously physically present here since August 3, 2021. TPS is not available to Haitians who cannot meet these requirements.


Published originally by The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him at