Immigrant and human rights advocates expressed outrage on Thursday amid news that the Biden administration deported nearly 90 people—including a number of children under age 3, advocates said—back to Haiti despite political unrest and a devastating 7.2 earthquake.
”We are in utter disbelief that the Biden administration would deport Haitians now,” Haitian Bridge Alliance executive director Guerline Jozef said in a statement received by Daily Kos. “Hours after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, President Joe Biden released a statement saying that the United States was a ‘friend” of Haiti. A friend does not continuously inflict pain on another friend.”
Haitian Bridge Alliance was among the hundreds of organizations that last month called on the Biden administration to halt deportations, citing August’s earthquake and the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. In their letter, the nearly 350 organizations cited past precedent for instituting such a pause, noting the federal government halted deportations following Haiti’s 2010 earthquake for a year.
Officials have the ability to do this again. But Haitian Bridge Alliance said on Wednesday that the administration had carried out a deportation flight to Haiti earlier that day anyway, later confirmed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In statement received by Daily Kos on Thursday, We Are Home campaign director Bridgette Gomez said it was “unconscionable to deport anyone to Haiti at this time,” a sentiment echoed by America’s Voice executive director Frank Sharry. “The news of renewed Haitian deportation flights is the type of morally indefensible news we would have expected from the Trump administration, not the Biden administration,” he said. “Given the instability and suffering on the ground in Haiti, the last thing we should be doing is deporting Haitians. These deportation flights should stop, full stop.”
Advocates and legislators have slammed the Biden administration’s deportation flights to Haiti for months now, including an ICE flight that deported more than 20 babies and children in February. They’ve noted that Haiti still hadn’t fully recovered from 2010’s earthquake. Then came this summer.
“That ICE would continue to carry out the mass deportations of our Haitian neighbors—with Haiti in the midst of its worst political, public health and economic crises yet—is cruel and callous,” Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley told The Hill. She was among the legislators who had condemned the February deportations in a letter to DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas. Jozef said August’s earthquake, as well as a tropical storm last month, has “resulted in the deaths of over 2,200 Haitians, injured 12,000 people, damaged or destroyed 120,000 homes and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.”
Yet this week the administration still “sent a plane full of families to Haiti under Title 42, including children under the age of three, without offering them legal protection and the opportunity to file for asylum,” she continued.
Adding further outrage is that Haitian families have been deported under an anti-asylum policy that was blocked in federal court this week. A federal judge on Thursday ordered the Biden administration to stop deporting asylum-seeking families under the unsound, Stephen Miller-pushed Title 42 policy. “The court ruled the plaintiffs were likely to prevail in the case, finding the Title 42 expulsion policy to be in clear violation of U.S. law and recognizing the grave harms suffered by families and children who have been subject to it,” migrant, civil, and human rights groups that sued over the policy said in a statement received by Daily Kos. “The preliminary injunction temporarily halting the policy will take effect in 14 days.”
The Biden administration is also deporting people to Haiti when it has already acknowledged instability there, advocates have noted. “In May 2021, the Biden administration designated Haiti for TPS, recognizing that a growing political crisis, serious security concerns, and an increase in human rights abuses, among other factors, prevented Haitian nationals from safely returning,” America’s Voice said.
Halt these deportations now, Mr. President. “Conditions in Haiti remain acutely unstable, and our government has recognized this,” National Immigration Law Center director of federal advocacy Avideh Moussavian said. “It is unacceptable that the administration authorized the deportation of dozens of Haitian people back to danger under these circumstances. The Biden administration must demonstrate a commitment to ensuring vulnerable immigrants are treated with dignity and can safely access protection.”
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.