To designate Haiti under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to render nationals of Haiti eligible for temporary protected status under such section

Bill Number: 
Bill Location: 
Date of Last Action: 
Friday, February 2, 2007
Relevant Text: 

HR 522 IH


1st Session

H. R. 522

To designate Haiti under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to render nationals of Haiti eligible for temporary protected status under such section.


January 17, 2007

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida (for himself, Mr. CONYERS, Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN, Mr. MEEK of Florida, Mr. WEXLER, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi, Ms. WATERS, Mr. MCGOVERN, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Ms. LEE, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. RUSH, Mr. SERRANO, Mr. CROWLEY, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, and Mr. GONZALEZ) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To designate Haiti under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to render nationals of Haiti eligible for temporary protected status under such section.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Haitian Protection Act of 2007'.


    The Congress finds the following:

      (1) Haiti remains severely devastated by the combined effects of ongoing political turmoil and the aftermath of the natural disasters of 2004, such as Tropical Storm Jeanne and Hurricane Ivan.

      (2) In Haiti, more than 2,500 people died as a result of Tropical Storm Jeanne in 2004.

      (3) The civil protection agency of Haiti stated that 250,000 people were homeless across the country and at least 4,000 homes were destroyed, with thousands more damaged, as a result of the storm.

      (4) When Tropical Storm Jeanne hit, Haiti was already struggling to deal with political instability and the aftermath of serious floods from a heavy rain on May 26, 2004, which killed over 3,000 people.

      (5) Despite President Preval's popular internal and international support, his nascent democratic government still faces immense political and institutional challenges, including a sharp increase in common crime, especially kidnappings which continue to plague the capital and other cities and regions, and the rebuilding of Haiti's police and judicial institutions to achieve the fair and prompt tackling of this ongoing political and criminal violence.

      (6) On Thursday, December 21, 2006, UNICEF issued a statement condemning the increased kidnappings of children in Haiti.

      (7) As of January 2007, the Department of State maintains a travel warning to United States citizens warning them of the absence of an effective police force in much of Haiti; the potential for looting; the presence of intermittent roadblocks set by armed gangs or by the police; and the possibility of random violent crime, including carjacking and assault. The warning states that kidnapping for ransom remains a serious threat, with more than 50 American citizens, including children, kidnapped over the past year.

      (8) As of January 2007, the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet states that `United States Embassy personnel are under an embassy-imposed curfew and must remain in their homes or in United States government facilities during the curfew. The embassy has limited travel by its staff outside of Port-au-Prince and therefore its ability to provide emergency services to United States citizens outside of Port-au-Prince is constrained'.

      (9) While United States policy advises Americans that current conditions make it unsafe to travel to Haiti, the same conditions make it dangerous and inappropriate to forcibly repatriate Haitians at this time.

      (10) Recent devastating environmental disasters from which Haiti has not recovered, continuing violence, and unstable political conditions pose a serious threat at this time to the personal safety of anyone forcibly repatriated to Haiti.

      (11) The Haitian government's ability to provide basic governmental services--clean water, education, passable road and basic healthcare--has been severely compromised by the natural disasters and disrupted by the violent overthrow of the constitutional government in 2004. Repatriating Haitians exposes them to these dangerous conditions, while imposing an additional burden on government resources that are already stretched too thin.

      (12) Haiti's recent political, civil, and governmental crises; and the extraordinary and temporary conditions caused by nature, including floods, epidemics, homelessness, death and the burying of Haiti's fourth largest city, Gonaives, easily make Haitian nationals currently in the United States eligible for temporary protected status under subparagraphs (B) and (C) of sections 244(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (`TPS') .

      (13) Moreover, there is a well-documented history of discrimination against Haitian nationals in the United States immigration process.

      (14) Temporary protected status grants temporary protection from deportation to nationals of a country in which environmental or political events have occurred which make it temporarily unsafe to deport them. TPS has been granted to nationals of many countries including those of Nicaragua and Honduras in 1999 following Hurricane Mitch, and of El Salvador in 2001 following severe earthquakes.

      (15) TPS would help protect United States borders by preserving remittances sent by potential deportees. Haitian immigrants in the United States remit about $1 billion annually to Haiti. These remittances vastly outweigh, in dollar value, United States foreign aid to Haiti, and are crucial to Haiti's recovery from the separate and combined effects of years of severe environmental disasters, paralyzing political turmoil, violence, and institutional failure

      (16) Granting Haitians TPS would also directly assist Haiti's nascent democracy in its efforts to recover from these conditions, stabilize the country's economy, rebuild its political and economic institutions, and provide a future of hope for Haiti's people.


    (a) Designation-

      (1) IN GENERAL- For purposes of section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a), Haiti shall be treated as if such country had been designated under subsection (b) of that section, subject to the provisions of this section.

      (2) PERIOD OF DESIGNATION- The initial period of such designation shall begin on the date of enactment of this Act and shall remain in effect for 18 months.

    (b) Aliens Eligible- In applying section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a) pursuant to the designation made under this section, and subject to subsection (c)(3) of such section, an alien who is a national of Haiti is deemed to meet the requirements of subsection (c)(1) of such section only if the alien--

      (1) is admissible as an immigrant, except as otherwise provided under subsection (c)(2)(A) of such section, and is not ineligible for temporary protected status under subsection (c)(2)(B) of such section; and

      (2) registers for temporary protected status in a manner that the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish.

    (c) Consent to Travel Abroad- The Secretary of Homeland Security shall give the prior consent to travel abroad described in section 244(f)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a(f)(3)) to an alien who is granted temporary protected status pursuant to the designation made under this section, if the alien establishes to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Homeland Security that emergency and extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the alien require the alien to depart for a brief, temporary trip abroad. An alien returning to the United States in accordance with such an authorization shall be treated the same as any other returning alien provided temporary protected status under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a).