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Leading Voices Call for Biden Administration to Live Up to Basic Legal, Moral and Humanitarian Obligations Toward Haitians at the Southern Border

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Leading voices are condemning the Biden administration for continuing the mistreatment and deportation of Haitians. At a minimum, the Biden administration should halt all deportation flights to Haiti, a country the Biden administration itself has officially determined to be a country to which it is unsafe to deport migrants. There must also be a humanitarian surge of resources from the federal government to rescue people in need of food and shelter under a bridge that lies in the U.S. 

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and approximately 13 House Democrats are scheduled to host a press conference at the House triangle this afternoon to speak out about Haitians and Haiti. 

The event is expected to take place at 2:30 PM ET (depending on votes). The event will be livestreamed on Rep. Clarke’s Facebook page (see here) and be on the lookout for additional information shortly.

Patrice Lawrence, co-director of UndocuBlack Network, has a column published by CNN, An outrage at America’s border:

“A human-rights catastrophe has taken shape on the border in Texas — and it has happened on the Biden administration’s watch … The White House will be hard-pressed to explain or defend such treatment of human beings whose only offense was to seek refuge in America, as so many have done, after fleeing a country torn by political violence and natural disasters.

Joe Biden’s administration is making things worse by refusing to process these asylum seekers, instead herding hundreds of them onto planes and back into harm’s way in Haiti. There is no moral justification for this behavior. First, the facts. Haitians, like all people, have a legal right to seek asylum in the United States. Although asylum seekers may present themselves at an official port of entry, they are not required to do so.

Their presence in Del Rio is not only legal, it is perfectly understandable. As anyone who follows the news already knows, Haiti, our neighbor, is in extreme turmoil. The suffering nation has endured a presidential assassination and a major earthquake within just the past three months — this in addition to a devastating earthquake in 2010, as well as ongoing and grinding poverty, gang violence and political strife. Many in the Del Rio encampment left Haiti more than a decade ago, and had been living in countries like Chile, Brazil and Panama.

The Biden administration itself recognized the unrest in Haiti when it issued a notice of Temporary Protected Status for Haitians living in the United States, acknowledging that conditions in that country are too dangerous for many Haitians to safely return home. What should the United States do? It should honor the law on asylum and allow these migrants to exercise their rights.

…We had hoped the new administration would forcefully reject the politics of hate. But it has been cowed into adopting some of the policies that Biden’s predecessor used to keep people out. Maybe the appalling images of Border Patrol officers on horseback will arouse the same ire as those of children in cages during Trump’s presidency. But I fear that Biden will be given a pass, that he will get the benefit of the doubt because vulnerable communities still need so much from him. The Biden administration could have made a strong statement in favor of due process and dignity by allowing for an orderly asylum process. Instead, it has opted for mass expulsions of vulnerable people.

…Last fall, I used my voice to mobilize my community members to reject the politics of division. We were told that the Biden administration would work toward racial healing and bring forth a new era of inclusivity for immigrants. Instead, we are getting the same old anti-Blackness, cruelty and dysfunction. This was not the mandate the Biden administration was given. The administration has the tools to do the right thing. They should use them.”

Palm Beach Post editorial: Haitians at the border: They’re only human. Are we?

“We can see this as an intractable problem. Or, we can set our minds and morality to address its components, one step at a time … But most Americans also realize that we benefit from those who come to invest in our economy, or to work in agriculture and other industries short on labor, or to gain knowledge from our universities that they can disperse throughout the world. And the biggest benefit of all: an open-minded, multicultural society.

None of those approaches, however, can come to fruition until we break the back of partisan gamesmanship here in the U.S., not just in Washington, D.C. but from sea to shining sea. This isn’t a game. These are human beings suffering badly, in search of a life and we ought to help them, even if only because that helps us, too.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“We expect and were promised better from the Biden Administration. It’s not enough to just investigate and hold accountable those responsible from CBP. Cowboys on horses is not the only problem, although Border Patrol impunity has long been unaddressed. The real problem is the underlying policy of exclusion and deterrence through cruelty. 

America should not be deporting Haitians back to a country ravaged by natural disaster and political instability. Instead, we need to chart a new course by providing humanitarian assistance to those in distress, ending Title 42 and metering, and opening up pathways for Haitians to exercise their legal right to request protection under U.S. law.”