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Tell the Biden Administration: Stop the Cruel Treatment of Haitian Asylum-Seekers

People of faith and conscience must demand an end to the racist, inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers.

By Rev. Mary Katherine Morn on September 23, 2021

It’s been an alarming few days. Hopes for creating desperately needed change in immigration policies suffered a setback on September 19, after the Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough advised against creating a path to citizenship through the Congressional process known as budget reconciliation.  The unelected official’s nonbinding opinion does not foreclose all avenues for gaining these protections through the reconciliation deal; it does, however, put a cruel and unnecessary new obstacle in the path of millions of people in this country seeking the assurance of security and the relief of a place to call home.

At the same time, the administration demonstrated its willingness to carry forward the cruel practice of the previous administration’s use of Title 42 in the face of thousands of Haitians in migration who will be summarily expelled to the dangers they previously escaped. Some are suggesting this may be the “largest mass expulsion of would-be asylum-seekers in recent American history.

The treatment of Haitian refugees at the border exposes, yet again, the brutally racist practices of U.S. Border Patrol. When policies promote trumped up fears about public health—through Title 42—to execute illegal and immoral deportation practices, we see the administration of cruelty from the very top. The system is woven together with racism, fear, and cruelty.

It does not have to be this way.

Regardless of what happens with legislative immigration reform in the months ahead, President Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have the power to take action that will protect human life, promote human rights, and guide our nation towards immigration policies and practices which reflect commitments they have made for a humanitarian response to people in migration.

You have the power to take action. Here are some simple ways to have an impact:

  • Sign a letter demanding the Biden administration halt the mass deportation of Haitian refugees and grant them the opportunity to claim asylum.
  • Learn more about Title 42 and how the Biden administration is using the policy to deport Haitian migrants.
  • If you’d like to directly donate to a group on the ground, Haitian Bridge Alliance Emergency Response Fund is the group UUSC is supporting.
  • Email and call your Congress members and the executive branch; urge them to take action. Tell them to:
    • Stop all deportations: Haitian migrants are refugees, fleeing dangerous conditions in Haiti, and shouldn’t be sent back without an opportunity to claim asylum or other protections.
    • Terminate Title 42: Don’t defend it and stop using it to unjustifiably expel Haitians.
    • Grant humanitarian parole: Haitians seeking protections must be granted humanitarian parole to allow them to be transferred to safer conditions and away from CBP mistreatment.
    • Provide humanitarian assistance: Provide safe shelter, water, food and health care to Haitians who are in Del Rio awaiting an opportunity to request protection.
    • Investigate Customs and Border Patrol: The Office of the Inspector General must immediately start an investigation into the use of whips, or whip-like devices, and other mistreatment of Haitians by Border Patrol.
  • Use this social media toolkit created by the Haitian Bridge Alliance and spread the message that we need to welcome migrants into this nation. Use these hashtags:
    • #StopDeportationFlights
    • #ImmigrationIsABlackIssue
    • #BidenAlsoDeports
    • #WelcomeWithDignity

Our actions in the United States in response to people fleeing violence, oppression, climate-related disasters, and the inability to create a livelihood, will have a global impact one way or the other. The United States has the potential to be a global leader in responding to our global migration reality by creating humane practices and treatment of people in migration, with particular attention to people of color.

In the face of heartbreaking news this week (or any week), at UUSC we keep our focus on our partners, their vision, their demands, and the role we can play moving forward, demanding that those in power course correct toward the creation of a nation rooted in human rights for all.

Thank you for adding your voice. And for all the ways you support UUSC’s work for human rights.

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About UUSC: Guided by the belief that all people have inherent worth and dignity, UUSC advances human rights globally by partnering with affected communities who are confronting injustice, mobilizing to challenge oppressive systems, and inspiring and sustaining spiritually grounded activism for justice. We invite you to join us in this journey toward realizing a better future!

Image Credit: iStock – Claudiad

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