But for some experts and advocates, Biden’s treatment of Haitian immigrants is not surprising.
“When asylum seekers or blacks face national power, whether local police on the streets or (government officials) … they face violence at different levels from what we see happening to non-black migrants,” said Nana Gyamfi, director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.
About the rights of foreigners proponents such as Gyamfi, the coalition government’s plans for migrants to Haiti in recent weeks only reinforce what they have been aware of for a long time: Haitians and other blacks do differently under the US immigration system than non-black immigrants.
Biden leaders accepted some Haitians but held many others captive
There are many reasons why thousands of Haitians are already making a dangerous trip to the US.
Some have fled their homeland to South America more than a decade ago, fleeing a devastating earthquake in 2010 that killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than a million homes. Those who remained saw that their country was already in crisis – since then, Haiti has never fully recovered.
This year, as the country grappled with a global epidemic and a severe famine, President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in July. One month later, a massive earthquake killed more than 2,000 Haitians and injured thousands. The crime rate and poverty that the Haitian people have already faced have intensified.
The tragic consequences of these conditions have forced many Haitians to leave their homes in search of a better life.
At one point, the US government acknowledged the dangerous situation in Haiti. Earlier this year, Biden’s administration announced that an estimated 100,000 Haitians in the United States would be eligible for a temporary residency permit, which would allow them to remain legally in the country for 18 months. But assistance protection only applies to those already in the US since July 29.
In recent weeks, tens of thousands of foreigners – mostly Haitians – have gathered in a suburb of Del Rio, Texas, where they live in squalid conditions waiting to be repaired by the US immigration system. This increase in immigration shocked U.S. immigration officials, and officials began boarding planes to evacuate most Haitians to the border. Within a few days, the camp was cleared.
Some expatriates were content to cross the border back to Mexico, others were deported to the detention center and some were released to the US. Others, however, were deported to Haiti without the opportunity to apply for asylum – forced to return to a more dangerous homeland than they had previously fled.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas cited three reasons why migrants could be released to the US, instead of being deported. forced labor; or the person may face harassment or reinstatement. Those who go abroad may want to complete the process of going abroad, where the immigration judge will finally decide whether they can stay in the US or be deported.
Delegates, however, doubt that as many as 4,600 Haitians deported to the US in recent weeks would have been allowed to pursue asylum, in line with political and international law.
“The United States has managed to eliminate 10 to 15 people (from the bottom of the Del Rio bridge) in less than a week, “said Guerline Jozef, executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance. So if they have a desire to protect them, they can do so. “
Culture and US Border Protection referred to a recent statement by Mayorkas, who said the images last week at the border “do not reflect who we are, who we wish to be, or be honest with the morals of our skilled staff in the Homeland Security Department.”
He added that the US thought Haiti was safe enough for migrants to return.
“We have continued to study the situation in Haiti, and we are determined, even in the face of the worst earthquakes and devastation, that Haiti is able to accommodate the people,” Mayorkas said at a September 24 White House meeting. “And we are working with Haiti and aid agencies to ensure that their return is as safe and efficient as possible.”
Nowadays plans are aimed at preventing Haitians from entering the US
The US government has used a number of measures in recent years to prevent migrants crossing the southern border. Many of these incomparable issues affect Haitians.
Biden leaders rely on public health law, known as Article 42, to quickly remove migrants, including Haitians, who have met on the US-Mexico border. Head 42, challenged during the Trump administration, was heavily scrutinized by foreign diplomats because it strongly prohibits immigrants seeking asylum in the US.
Biden officials have argued that the bill is being asked to protect the health of foreigners, border guards and local communities given the high population density at the border.
“We are doing this for the sake of public health,” Mayorkas told a news conference at the September 24 White House. “It’s not an immigration policy. It’s not an immigration policy for us to accept.”
In September, a magistrate barred a Biden manager from deporting families with children detained at the US-Mexico border under a public health program, but he kept the sentence suspended for two weeks. During this time, Biden’s management appealed and the appeals court filed a motion to dismiss the lower court’s decision.
Prior to December 42, the US government was restricting access to foreigners by means of a meter system. Beginning in early 2016, asylum seekers at the border were placed on the program and told to stay in Mexico until it was time for them to start asylum programs. Metering was mainly targeted at asylum seekers in Haiti, according to the American Immigration Council’s advocacy group, and migrants were often held to wait years before their sentences were heard.
When their cases are heard, Haitians are granted asylum on the lowest taxes of any kind available, according to a recent study by the Associated Press.
Haitians and other black immigrants – including those from Jamaica, Liberia and Cameroon also face unparalleled cooperation with lawmakers and the criminal justice system, says Gyamfi.
Last year, some Haitian families remained more protected by the US than those of any other country, according to Texas nonprofit RAICES. The group also found that Haitians paid higher bonds than other foreign prisoners, meaning they also lived in ICI facilities for extended periods.
In addition, blacks made up about 20 percent of those facing deportation for crimes, although only 7% of the population are non-citizens, according to a 2016 report from the Black Alliance of Just Immigration. This is despite the fact that there is no evidence that blacks have more opportunities than other groups to commit crimes.
“At the end of the day, it is based on racial profiling – the same reasons we see that Africans are being unequally held, that they are being charged with high crimes, that they are being sentenced to a long term,” Gyamfi said. “All of this applies to black immigrants.”
CNN approached the Homeland Security Department for comment.
This treatment of Haitians by the US government is not new
U.S. government discrimination and Haitian refugee discrimination go back decades, furthering Republican and Democratic rule, experts said.
Haitians first came to the US in large numbers after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished the country-prescribed laws, explained Regine Jackson, who teaches professor of political and African studies at Agnes Scott College. The numbers continued to grow during the ’70s and’ 80s.
Under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter, Haitian emigrants were under the very same conditions that saw them quickly detained and deported, often without adequate representation or translators. Although a political judge eventually ruled in favor of the constitution, Haiti continued to face restrictions and harsh treatment.
The Haitian treatment system has come to differentiate between refugees, fleeing political oppression and eligible asylum seekers, and refugees, who are seeking better opportunities and are not allowed to seek refuge, Jackson said.
The US has taken the position that accepting Haiti as refugees would undermine relations with the anti-communist government, which was considered friendly. So it regarded the Haitian people as economic refugees, even though some were fleeing the brutal US-backed dictator François Duvalier.
“The name does not imply that the political and economic conditions – which cause migration – are interdependent,” Jackson said. “We continue to see the legacy of difference today.”
Jackson likens the treatment of Haitian immigrants to that of a group in the Caribbean: Cubans.
In 1980, more than 100,000 Cubans and thousands of Haitians sought refuge on the US coast in search of refuge. But while Cubans were widely accepted as political refugees and freed from the US, Haitians were detained for a long time or repatriated, he said.
“That’s the difference about the country, but also the law that was promoted by the nation,” added Jackson.
When President Ronald Reagan entered office early in 1981, he instituted a new prison law and ordered the US Coast Guard to seize ships carrying Haitian asylum seekers before they even reached the US coast – plans that would continue through the 90s under George HW Bush and Bill Clinton.
Fears that Haitian immigrants were infected with HIV / AIDS were also used as excuses for their detention.
Nevertheless, Haitians continue to come to the US
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
The truth for them, however, is often different.
“We as Americans are selling the image to the world which is not real,” said Jozef, along with the Haitian Bridge Alliance.
“People who believe in the freedom and liberty they will be granted when they come to the United States as asylum seekers, as refugees, or in need of protection, are exposed to violence and discrimination as well as to black people.”
Despite this, and advocates of discriminatory practices and immigration officials in the United States, many Haitians continue to travel to the US.
CNN Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this article.