Before resigning his post this past fall, a senior State Department official authored a memo slamming the unlawful deportations of Haitians under the anti-asylum Title 42 policy. The ongoing policy was implemented by the previous administration, and has used the novel coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to quickly deport asylum-seekers in violation of U.S. and international law.
We know now that similar warnings came from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) civil rights office, BuzzFeed News reports. Yet the deportations of thousands of Haitians has continued.
BuzzFeed News reports that the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) had warned in an internal document in late August that Haitian deportations under the Title 42 policy “would risk ‘refoulement,’ a term for sending an asylum-seeker back to a country where they will likely face persecution, in violation of human rights and international refugee law.” (Of course, this is something that experts and advocates have been publicly screaming since last year.)
The report said that the civil rights office pointed to the fact that at just around the same time in August, the State Department had issued its highest alert instructing Americans to not travel to Haiti, citing “kidnapping, crime, and COVID-19.” The State Department would also issue another warning several weeks later urging any Americans in Haiti to leave as quickly as possible. Yet thousands of Haitian asylum-seekers have been deported during this time.
During an appearance on José Díaz-Balart Reports last month, PBS NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor said “the Biden administration’s answer has been, well Haitians that are being deported back, they’re being deported back with different security issues” than Americans being asked to leave. “Based on my reporting, though, when someone is deported back to Haiti, they’re facing the same insecurity that Americans living there are facing.”
Alcindor notes that includes a “200% spike in kidnappings,” food shortages, and dangerous conditions “where people don’t feel comfortable going outside to get a piece of bread or a gallon of milk.”
“The situation for Haitians who have been deported back to Haiti is extremely dire,” University of California, Hastings College of the Law adjunct professor and Haitian Bridge Alliance Legal Director Nicole Phillips told BuzzFeed News. “Everybody faces danger right now, but those who’ve been deported face an extra layer of danger.”
”The advocacy group Witness at the Border reported this week that more than 9,000 Haitians have been returned to the country since the Biden administration began the mass deportations in September,” the report continued. Advocates noted a deportation flight from Louisiana to Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, the 88th deportation flight since Sept. 19.
In a rare joint statement late September, four United Nations (U.N.) agencies appealed to “countries in the Americas” to “uphold the fundamental human rights of Haitians,” and urged nations to “refrain” from deporting vulnerable people “without proper assessment of their individual protection needs.” The agencies said “international law prohibits collective expulsions and requires that each case be examined individually to identify protection needs under international human rights and refugee law.”
The statement came as the Biden administration had deported more than 6,100 Haitians on nearly 60 deportation flights in a period of just 12 days. The U.N. Refugee Agency had already issued a statement in August specifically calling out the U.S. over its deportations of Central American asylum-seekers under Title 42 to remote regions of Mexico. This is intentional. “These expulsion flights of non-Mexicans to the deep interior of Mexico constitute a troubling new dimension in enforcement of the COVID-related public health order known as Title 42,” a U.N. representative said.
But despite the warnings from the civil rights office, former officials, advocates, U.N. agencies, and the Congressional testimony of public health experts, the Biden administration announced last Friday that it would continue the Title 42 policy. Unlike the Remain in Mexico policy, there is no court order behind Title 42.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.