November 10, 2021

Warren, Congressional Delegation Call on Office of Refugee Resettlement to Coordinate with Massachusetts to Assist Haitian Families

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with Representatives Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08), William Keating (D-MA-09), Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Lori Trahan (D-MA-03) and Jake Auchincloss (D-MA-04) sent a letter to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) calling on them to coordinate with the government agencies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to assist newly arrived families from Haiti. 

“Massachusetts is home to one of the largest Haitian communities in the United States. As such, it is a fitting destination for resettlement of Haitians who are seeking refuge in this country.  Many Haitians are fleeing life-threatening conditions in their home country,” wrote the lawmakers.

In the past year, Haiti has faced a multitude of crises — the country has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August, and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July. Due to the extreme instability and the large epidemic of gang violence that continues to affect many Haitian communities, there has been a significant increase in the number of Haitian migrants seeking asylum at the southern border. Massachusetts is home to the third-largest Haitian population in America and many of the migrants who have come to the U.S. are settling in Massachusetts due to the strong Haitian diaspora. 

“We encourage you to do all you can to ensure that the process of resettling Haitians in Massachusetts proceeds smoothly,” the Congressional delegation wrote.

In the letter, the lawmakers ask ORR to provide the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services with information regarding the number of Haitians expected to arrive in the state, the timeline for their arrival, and clarification on whether the arriving individuals are eligible for ORR benefits based on various immigration statuses. The lawmakers also ask whether ORR will issue supplemental funding to meet emergency housing and social support needs for entrants. 

This letter is part of Senator Warren's ongoing efforts to protect the rights and wellbeing of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, migrants, and asylum seekers:

  • Last month, Senator Warren joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in criticizing the inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants and called on the administration to support long-term stability in Haiti.  
  • In September, Senator Warren’s staff attended the Solidarity for Haiti event denouncing the inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants at the border and calling on the Administration to focus on humanitarian efforts to aid those fleeing a country in disarray.
  • In May 2021, Senator Warren supported the Biden administration’s announcement that it is designating Haitians in the United States for TPS for 18 months. 
  • In March 2021, Senator Warren joined Senator Mazie Hirono’s (D-Hawaii) amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in Sanchez v. Mayorkas, regarding TPS holders being denied green cards.
  • In September 2020, Senator Warren called out the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to end TPS for over 300,000 immigrants. 
  • In April 2020, Senator Warren joined Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and 36 colleagues urging the Trump administration to automatically extend work authorizations for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and TPS recipients and other impacted immigrants.
  • In May 2018, Senator Warren joined Senator Markey in a letter to the Trump administration questioning the termination of TPS for Haitians. 
  • In November 2017, Senator Warren released a statement calling out the Trump administration's announcement that it planned to end TPS for Haitians in 2019.