By: Ashlee Banks | Special to the AFRO, special to NNPA

Congressional Black Caucus members are putting pressure on the Biden-Harris administration to grant protections to Haitians fleeing to the U.S. amid the unrest in the Caribbean nation.

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., told the AFRO the administration needs to stop deporting Haitians who are seeking refuge in the U.S.

“To deport anyone to Haiti right now is nothing short of a death sentence. The headlines may have faded, but this humanitarian crisis continues to worsen with every day,” said Pressley. “We’re not waning in our advocacy and in this fight – we’re going to keep fighting and holding everyone accountable to keep their word on behalf of the people of Haiti.”

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., also weighed in.

“To deport people back to Haiti is a cause and kiss of death,” she said in a statement. “There is nothing in Haiti but suffering, so we have to say to the president of the United States, ‘stop the deportation.’”

U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus McCormick, D-Fla. said in a statement obtained by the AFRO that “in the face of the crisis in Haiti, our moral compass and international duty compel us to step forward, not just to alleviate the immediate suffering of the Haitian people, but to address the systemic problems forcing Haitians to flee their homeland.”

In recent months, Haiti has seen an uptick in violence due to armed gangs targeting the nation’s police stations, airports and the country’s largest port, which has resulted in food insecurity.

Members have stressed that many Haitians are on the verge of starvation and it is essential that the Biden-Harris administration intervene.

The violence in the Caribbean nation comes as gang members have grown frustrated with the postponement of presidential elections following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. After Moïse’s death, Ariel Henry, who recently stepped down as Haiti’s prime minister, came into power and held the position for three years. Gang members believed Henry was abusing his authority and demanded he step down.

Last month, Henry resigned, and Haiti’s transitional council named Fritz Bélizaire as the country’s new prime minister in hopes of quelling the violence in the nation.

U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., told the AFRO “Haiti deserves a democratic transition led by its own civil society. This right to self-government is inherent to every nation. It means that the Haitian people — not external forces — should decide the concepts of consent and sovereignty that guide their future.”

Clarke added, “The United States can help repay a debt to Haiti by fostering a democratic transition that allows its people to freely determine their path.”