Rep. Cori Bush is a master communicator, exemplifying compassion and leadership in a mere 240-character tweet. Over the weekend, Bush put out a simple message framing her work and her colleagues as saving lives.
With news reports of crises affecting Afghanistan, Haiti, and Lebanon, Bush and others have called for the United States to have a pro-refugee approach.
Bush focused more specifically on Haiti Monday afternoon in a tweet from her official House account. Acknowledging that recovery for Haiti involves a deeper commitment to the economic and political well-being of the island nation, Bush expressed hope that the U.S. would support the full recovery of Haiti.
Bush’s statement echoes the sentiments of Congressional Haiti and Caribbean Caucuses co-chairs. The House Haiti Caucus was founded in May by Reps. Yvette Clarke, Ayanna Pressley, Val Demings, and Andy Levin.
“This earthquake could not have come at a worse time for the people of Haiti; the nation is in the throes of a political crisis, the effects of the compounding COVID-19 pandemic, and is still recovering from the disastrous earthquake that hit the island’s southern peninsula more than a decade ago,” read the statement. “We remain committed to championing adequate aid to the region, supporting bilateral relations and policies that will ensure Haiti’s full economic and political recovery, and the emergence of a durable, Haitian-led democracy.”
But concerns remain about the immigration status of Haitians here in the U.S. While the Biden administration previously extended TPS status to some Haitians, deportations have continued. The Haitian Bridge Alliance reported a group of Haitian immigrants was deported just days before the earthquake.
“It’s quite confusing why people are being sent to a country that the Administration acknowledges is unsafe and satisfies at least one condition to be granted TPS,” tweeted the Haitian Bridge Alliance.
In a statement issued after news broke of the earthquake, Haitian Bridge Alliance’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Guerline Jozef questioned whether the goal of the U.S. was to continue the destabilization of Haiti.
“How can the U.S. government deport anyone to Haiti right now?” Jozef asked. “How do they think so little of Haitian lives, deporting children and babies in the middle of the chaos? This is a clear example of external violence that continues to deepen the instability in Haiti. What is the purpose of sending a two-year-old to Haiti right now? It cannot be deterrence; we all know that deterrence does not work. We also want to know who in Haiti’s government is accepting these flights, which is a form of internal violence? We need answers from both the United States and Haiti.”
Haitian Bridge also encouraged folks to be conscientious in donations to relief organizations to keep in mind some guidelines. “We encourage the U.S. government and individuals to donate to relief organizations that directly support the Haitian people and that follow a human rights-based approach that fosters a) accountability, b) transparency, c) participation of Haitians, d) capacity-building, and e) non-discrimination. Anpil men, chay pa lou (“Many hands make the load light”),” read the statement.
Paul Andre Mondesir, lead organizer for the National TPS Alliance, called on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to extend the date for new Haitian TPS designations.
“This earthquake is, unfortunately, another crisis in Haiti, in addition to the ongoing political chaos, the Covid-19 pandemic, food insecurity, and hurricanes,” said Mondesir. “In response to today’s catastrophe, we are urgently calling Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden administration to once again extend the new TPS designation date for Haiti to benefit more Haitians currently residing in the United States. We hope the administration uses its authority to address the needs of the Haitian community at this moment, and we send our condolences, love, and solidarity to all of our Haitian brothers and sisters.”
Between the devastation in Haiti and the failure of decades of foreign intervention in Afghanistan, many people are caught in the crosshairs of bad government policies and exploited resources. Following her call for action on Haiti, Bush called for the U.S. to take in as many refugees as possible, pointing to the urgency of the situation in Afghanistan.
While tweets alone won’t change the world, they are a quick way to get out the necessary information. Mid-Monday afternoon, Clarke tweeted a thread with information directed at people looking to help people impacted by the situation in Afghanistan.