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Faith Leaders Urge Biden to Protect Haitians as Nation Grapples With Devastating Gang Violence, Hunger Crisis

In a show of solidarity, 151 faith leaders and 101 faith-based organizations have signed a letter urging the Biden administration “to vigorously pursue all options for humanitarian protection for Haitians.” The Caribbean nation is experiencing escalating gang violence and a crippling humanitarian crisis that has left millions suffering.

“Many of our organizations and places of worship have deep connections to Haiti and continue to work with our partners there to prevent violence, promote peace and justice, and welcome Haitians displaced by the ongoing crisis,” the letter states.

Haiti, a country no stranger to hardship, is facing a crisis of unprecedented severity. Since 2022, armed gangs have tightened their control, particularly in the capital Port-au-Prince, leading to a devastating surge in violence. The United Nations reports a staggering rise in deaths, hunger, and gang rape. Out of fear, thousands have fled their homes and live in makeshift camps with limited access to basic necessities, according to The Associated Press.

The violence directly impacts access to food, water, and medicine. Essential supplies are disrupted or hoarded by gangs, driving up prices and leaving millions hungry. Children are particularly vulnerable, with UNICEF reporting that 3 million children are in desperate need. Haiti’s population is around 11.8 million.

While years of limited resources and a history of using gangs for political purposes have left Haiti in a precarious position, the coalition of faith leaders and organizations also point to “historical Western foreign interventions.”

“The ramifications of this history and ongoing crisis continue to put the lives, rights, and freedoms of all Haitians at risk,” their letter states. “The U.S. and the international community must act now to show the Haitian people that we stand with them.”

The letter states, “As Haitians pursue multiple avenues to end this turmoil and rebuild the government, the U.S. and the international community must also make clear that they support Haitians’ self-determination.”

In the face of this dire situation, Christian, Jewish, and Unitarian faith leaders are urging the Biden administration to take several critical steps, including extending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haitians currently living in the U.S. They also call for protection of Haitian students enrolled in U.S. institutions and a general pause on deportations to Haiti.

The letter, which can be read online, was addressed to President Biden, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and highlighted in a press release by Interfaith Immigration Coalition.

Editor’s note: This article was written with the assistance of A.I.

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Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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