Haitian Advocacy Groups Call on Biden to End ‘Cruel Asylum Policies’

Oct 15, 2021
6:22 PM

Ladonida Whyte, right, holds a candle meant to represent Haitian migrants deported from the United States to Haiti, during a vigil Thursday, October 14, 2021, in San Diego. According to organizers, each candle held at the vigil Thursday represents 30 of the thousands of Haitians that have been deported in the last month. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

On Thursday, groups advocating for better treatment of Haitian asylum seekers published a full-page ad in the Washington, D.C. edition of the New York Times, calling on Pres. Joe Biden to end Title 42 and the continued expulsion of Haitian migrants.

The groups are part of the Welcome With Dignity campaign pushing for humane reforms to the asylum process.

“Your administration has expelled more than 7,500 Haitian migrants back to danger in Haiti since September 19,” read the ad.

An earlier press release published by the Haitian Bridge Alliance called for nationwide demonstrations on Thursday, October 14, “to demand an end to President Biden’s inhumane mass expulsions of Haitian asylum seekers and mistreatment of Black migrants.”

In its condemnation of the expulsions, the group pointed to the fact that the secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, in an announcement re-granting Haitians Temporary Protected Status, cited “serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources” in Haiti in the wake of “the assassination of President Jovenel Moise [and] a 7.2 magnitude earthquake —which resulted in the death of over 2,200 people, injured another 12,000, damaged or destroyed 120,000 homes, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.”

Even after Tropical Storm Grace swept through the island nation, “the Biden Administration sent 72 flights to Haiti, including pregnant women, babies, and families to the same country that they determined was unsafe,” read the statement.

“The high level of anti-Blackness embedded in the immigration system was shown to the world when pictures of Customs and Border Patrol agents on horses and reins were chasing Black asylum seekers,” the statement continued. “This treatment is unlike any other that we have seen for any other groups of migrants seeking safety.”

The Biden administration has come under fire for its continued use of Title 42, which was implemented by former Pres. Donald Trump to deny entry to asylum seekers without hearings under the stated reason of taking health precautions due to the pandemic —though as Rafael Bernal at The Hill points out, many of those sent back to their countries are kept in U.S. custody well beyond the recommended two-week period for quarantine.

“Rescinding a Trump-era policy is the least I would expect,” said Taisha Saintil, legislative and communications director for the Haitian Bridge Alliance, which is also part of the Welcome With Dignity campaign. “Why do you think these lives don’t matter? That’s a question I would love to ask the president himself.”