Miami, FL – September 22, 2016 – For the past several months, our Miami office has been assisting Haitians who left Haiti following the earthquake in search of jobs and safety in Brazil. They are now seeking refuge in the United States, given Brazil’s political and economic instability.
Earlier today the Obama Administration announced that it is resuming Haitian deportations and new arrivals at the Border will have their cases expedited. An estimated 2000 Haitians already here who have final removal orders are also at risk of removal. Deportations to Haiti were suspended following the 2010 earthquake.
According to CBP, from October 1, 2015 to September 4, 2016 over 5,000 Haitians were apprehended at our border, up from 339 Haitians without visas who crossed in FY 2015. In the first 10 months of FY 2016 alone, about 47,000 Cubans entered the U.S., up from over 24,000 in FY 2015. A year and a day after being admitted or paroled into the U.S. by our government, these Cubans are eligible for green cards.
This is a painful reminder to the Haitian community of the existing double standard of treatment. In many ways the situation in Haiti today is worse than in Cuba. In recent reports, both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have condemned Haiti’s dysfunctional government and noted the relatively weak humanitarian response to Haiti’s raging cholera epidemic.
Haitians arriving at the border have undertaken a truly dangerous journey in hope of reaching our border, traveling on foot, by bus and over water for 3-4 months. While most of the Haitians are men, women and children also undertake the voyage. Many were robbed, beaten and raped during the trip and some have even died.
The road to justice for Haitians continues to be a long, arduous one. Yesterday Obama spoke to the United Nations General Assembly about the urgent need to help refugees, but today Haitians in our own back yard are being shut out.
Thankfully, Haitians granted TPS in 2010 are not affected by this change