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Shameful Treatment of Haitians

Published September 27, 2021

Statement from Cheryl Little, Co-founder and Executive Director

My first job after graduation from law school was at the Haitian Refugee Center where I learned firsthand the extent of the discrimination against Haitians. Since then, the shameful treatment has only escalated. For decades U.S. policy impacting Haitian asylum seekers has created an almost insurmountable barrier for Haitians to obtain justice.

Recent actions by the Biden Administration toward Haitian refugees at our border only perpetuates the ongoing disregard of Haitian lives.

Expulsions of Haitians en masse are ongoing as thousands languish in horrific conditions at the border. Even more shocking, the Biden administration is planning to detain Haitians at Guantanamo, where suspected 9/11 terrorists are still being held.

Adding insult to injury, the blatant dehumanization of Haitians by CBP is unconscionable. This unchecked behavior has been on the forefront of advocate complaints for decades.

Haiti is on the brink following the assassination of President Moïse and a devastating 7.2 earthquake that killed over 2,200 people and injured nearly 13,000. Haitians are still struggling to recover from the 2010 earthquake as promises made in 2010 by the U.S. and others to help Haiti recover fell by the wayside. What’s left of the government is in shatters, the legal system is bankrupt, and powerful, armed gangs operate with impunity.

Removals to Haiti now could well be a death sentence.

Even the U.S. Envoy to Haiti, Dan Foote, has submitted his resignation citing a “deeply flawed” U.S. policy toward Haiti. He stated, “I will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees.”

Governing well under extremely difficult circumstances is a tough job and immigration is a political grenade, but the Administration is obligated to ensure that Ports of Entry are accessible to arriving migrants, that conditions on the border are humane and that Haitians are provided the due process they deserve.

President Biden’s reliance on an archaic public health policy, Title 42, to shut down the border violates both U.S. and International law and shuns a recent Federal Court decision stating that Title 42 is illegal.

We continue to call for a moratorium on all Haitian removals.

AI Justice has championed the rights of Haitians since its inception 25 years ago. We have challenged the government every step of the way and we will continue doing so.


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