News » CGRS Urges Biden to Bring Haitians to Safety, Stop Expulsions and Brutality

CGRS Urges Biden to Bring Haitians to Safety, Stop Expulsions and Brutality

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Sep 21, 2021

The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) is horrified by the Biden administration’s cruel and illegal treatment of Haitian families, children, and adults seeking safety at our southern border. Since resuming removal flights to Haiti last week, the administration has expelled hundreds of Haitians, including children and infants, to a country in deep crisis. On Monday Border Patrol officers brandished whip-like lariats and spewed racist abuse at Haitian families in Del Rio, Texas. CGRS urges the administration to immediately halt removals to Haiti, end the inhumane Title 42 policy, and ensure a safe and fair asylum process for Haitians and all others seeking refuge in the United States.

Last Friday the Biden administration filed an appeal to the federal court order in Huisha-Huisha v. Mayorkas, which enjoins Title 42 expulsions of families and is slated to take effect next week. One day later the administration announced it would immediately begin expelling Haitians awaiting the opportunity to seek asylum in Del Rio. The first wave of Haitians flown back to Port-au-Prince arrived on Sunday with little but the clothes on their backs. Many had been forced to flee Haiti years ago and are now struggling to find safety in a country they barely recognize. Hundreds more Haitians are expected to be left stranded in Port-au-Prince following the six expulsion flights scheduled for today.

Conditions in Haiti have rapidly deteriorated in recent months. Kidnappings and violence, often perpetrated by powerful gangs, have surged around the country, with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July exacerbating insecurity. In August Haiti was struck by a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake and a tropical storm that killed over 2,200 Haitians and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, churches, and schools. The Biden administration recently designated Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), recognizing that Haitians living in the United States cannot safely return to a country in such severe turmoil. Yet the administration now claims that expelling Haitian asylum seekers to those very same conditions is somehow acceptable, even as overwhelmed Haitian migration officials plead them to stop the flights.

“Ramping up expulsions after a federal court ruled the Title 42 policy illegal is outrageous,” said Blaine Bookey, CGRS Legal Director and co-counsel in the Huisha-Huisha case. “Sending Haitians back to a place where many will face violence, homelessness, and even death without so much as asking whether they have a fear of return is unlawful and unconscionable. CGRS has been working closely with Haitian civil society groups for over two decades. Our partners on the ground report that conditions have never been so dire, even in post-coup periods. President Biden has chosen to embrace the anti-refugee, anti-Black agenda of the Trump administration, and Haitians and their allies will not forget it.”

“The images we saw from Del Rio shock the conscience,” added Felipe Navarro-Lux, CGRS Manager of Regional Initiatives. “The brutality perpetrated by U.S. border agents in Texas parallels that of their Mexican counterparts, who have long operated as proxy border control for the United States at the encouragement of our government. For weeks, migration officers in southern Mexico have been brutalizing Haitian migrants in search of a place where they can live a dignified life, many trying to reach U.S. territory. The Biden administration has set the tone and bears responsibility for these abuses, too. Enough is enough.”