Nearly 14,000 Haitian migrants have come to the U.S. border near Del Rio, Texas in recent days hoping to be admitted to the United States. The Biden administration has already deported over 1,000 people since the weekend, while some Haitians have been released into the U.S. for immigration processing.
Haitian migrants have created an enormous camp under the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas, hoping to be accepted into the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security announced that they would work to clear the encampment within the coming days and would expel migrants immediately from the U.S. While hundreds of migrants have been deported on flights to Port-au-Prince just this week, others, mainly parents with children and pregnant people, have been admitted into Del Rio.
President Biden has used Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy, to expel Haitians from the U.S.—Mexico border. Title 42 is a public health code that enables the government to expel migrants without conducting typical immigration hearings. The public health order also prevents asylum seekers from asking the U.S. for protection. Last week, a federal judge ruled that the Biden administration could no longer use Title 42 to expel migrant families. That ruling, however, will not go into effect until next month.
Many of the Haitian migrants at the U.S. border did not migrate directly from Haiti. Several came from other countries in South America where they had tried to settle originally but were unable to due to unemployment and challenges brought on by the pandemic. Political unrest, economic downturn, and natural disaster have all forced thousands of Haitians to leave their home country in recent years.
The Biden administration’s use of Title 42, its decision to expel Haitian migrants through mass deportation, and its overall treatment of Haitians at the border has received severe condemnation.
Earlier this week, disturbing images of Border Patrol agents brutalizing Haitians at the U.S. border sparked outrage. The photos and footage show Border Patrol agents on horses aggressively using reins as whips to push people trying to cross the Rio Grande River back. The Homeland Security Department has since launched an investigation into the horse patrols.
“White (and white-presenting) men on horseback with lariats are seen chasing, yelling, and cursing at vulnerable Black asylum seekers who have for weeks and months been fleeing toward what they thought were safety,” wrote several civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, the Black Alliance for Immigration, the Black Women’s Roundtable, and the National Women’s Law Center, in a letter to President Biden.
“The actions of these Border Patrol officers are disgraceful and show an indifference to the humanity of Black migrants.”
The mass expulsion of Haitian migrants is expected to continue and accelerate this week.
Sources: CNN 9/23/21; Reuters 9/22/21; Washington Post 9/21/21; New York Times 9/22/21;