[News] Four Months Ago, Biden Said Haiti Wasn’t Safe. Now He’s Deporting Thousands There.

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Sep 21 14:08:05 EDT 2021


theintercept.com
<https://theintercept.com/2021/09/20/biden-haiti-deportations-texas-del-rio/>
Four
Months Ago, Biden Said Haiti Wasn’t Safe. Now He’s Deporting Thousands
There.
Natasha Lennard <https://theintercept.com/staff/natasha-lennard/> -
September 20 2021
------------------------------

[image: AP21263189267954-migrants-haitian-crossing-border]
<https://theintercept.imgix.net/wp-uploads/sites/1/2021/09/AP21263189267954-migrants-haitian-crossing-border.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&q=90>

Migrants, many from Haiti, wade across the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas,
to return to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, late Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, to avoid
deportation to Haiti from the U.S.

Photo: AP Photo/Félix Márquez

*Just four months ago,* the Department of Homeland Security designated
<https://www.dhs.gov/news/2021/05/22/secretary-mayorkas-designates-haiti-temporary-protected-status-18-months>
Haiti for temporary protected status. The rare designation applies to
immigrants in the United States who are temporarily unable to safely return
to their home country because of conditions of extreme political upheaval,
conflict, or natural disasters. The U.S. government thus asserted, in no
uncertain terms, that Haiti was not a safe place. Temporary protected
status was extended and expanded
<https://www.natlawreview.com/article/haiti-tps-extended-through-february-3-2023>for
Haitians just five weeks ago.

Yet in the last 24 hours, 320 Haitians were placed on planes by the Biden
administration and expelled
<https://apnews.com/article/health-mexico-texas-caribbean-immigration-56f1f0093039e2a43e128b7ef0015485>
back to Haiti, having been removed from the huge border camp that has
amassed around a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. Six more flights are expected to
land in Haiti on Tuesday, and then as many as 10 per day from Wednesday
onward. Around 14,000 Haitians will be expelled from the U.S. over the
coming three weeks — almost the exact number currently gathered at the Del
Rio encampment.

Around 14,000 Haitians will be expelled from the U.S. over the coming three
weeks — almost the exact number currently gathered at the Del Rio
encampment.

The Biden administration is expelling thousands of people to a country
officially recognized as unsafe for repatriation. It is a deportation
operation of scale and speed not seen in decades. And it gives the lie to
any notion that President Joe Biden’s border regime is kinder than that of
former President Donald Trump.

Trump and his ghoulish allies framed their brutal border policies in
unabashed racist rhetoric and white supremacist fearmongering. Like
Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama before him
<https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/clinton-and-obama-laid-the-groundwork-for-donald-trumps-war-on-immigrants/>,
Biden shrouds his anti-immigrant policies in empty liberal overtures
<https://joebiden.com/immigration/>. The necropolitical border logics are
nonetheless the same; the suffering of those denied safety in this country
— which could well provide it — is no different, whether enforced by an
alleged “friend” to immigrants or an explicit white nationalist.

“The Biden Administration doesn’t get to be both an ally of immigrant
communities and an active oppressor,” wrote
<https://twitter.com/UndocuBlack/status/1438590878239633408> the
UndocuBlack Network, a community of currently and formerly undocumented
Black advocates, on Twitter. “And the daughter of immigrants Kamala” —
Harris, the vice president — “doesn’t get to use her immigrant ties to get
our support for her election but then play bystander to our plight.”

UndocuBlack ended the tweet with the hashtag #BidenAlsoDeports, which has
been gaining traction among those trying to draw attention to the brutality
of the administration’s mass deportation of Haitians.

Longtime immigrant rights activists will be unsurprised by the fact of a
Democratic administration’s inhumanity when it comes to border rule. Genocidal
policies
<https://theintercept.com/2019/07/06/migration-open-borders-deterrence-mass-murder/>
of so-called deterrence
<https://theintercept.com/2019/05/04/no-more-deaths-scott-warren-migrants-border-arizona/>
in the name of border “security” are a rare point of bipartisan agreement,
whether or not Democrats admit it. Foul Trumpian treatment of immigrants at
the border was cited as key proof of his administration’s racist cruelty.
The same, then, must apply to Biden’s actions.

[image: TOPSHOT-US-POLITICS-IMMIGRATION-TEXAS]
<https://theintercept.imgix.net/wp-uploads/sites/1/2021/09/GettyImages-1235366682-border-patrol-agent-horseback-whips-haitian-migrant-encampment-del-rio.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&q=90>

A U.S. Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant
from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the
international bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19, 2021.

Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

*Photographs taken over* the weekend show
<https://twitter.com/AFP/status/1439763779688882180?s=20> U.S. Border
Patrol agents on horseback violently grabbing Haitian migrants attempting
to join the Del Rio encampment. This, the Biden administration claims, is
in the name of safety: The mass deportations have been authorized under the
Centers for Disease Control’s Title 42
<https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-09-17/biden-administration-appeals-judge-order-to-stop-expelling-migrants-under-public-health-law>,
which enables expedited deportations in the name of public health during
the Covid-19 pandemic. Under Trump, nearly half a million people were
removed under the law; the Biden administration has already used it to
deport nearly 700,000.

Its use against migrants at the southern border sends a clear and vile
message as to whom the U.S. deems to be the public, deserving of health and
safety. Under Title 42 — in the name of safety, that is — those being
rounded up and flown to Haiti were given no option to apply for asylum or
temporary protection status.

It is worth emphasizing, too, that the majority of deportees have not lived
in Haiti for many years, having left to find work in South America after a
catastrophic hurricane devastated their home country in 2010. Struggling to
find enough work to survive in South America, thousands risked perilous
journeys to the U.S. border, only to be summarily removed — to Haiti.

“I’m scared,” Gary Monplaisir, a 26-year-old Haitian man, who had traveled
from Chile to the U.S. border with his wife and 5-year-old daughter and who
now faces imminent removal to Haiti, told The Associated Press. “I don’t
have a plan.” He has not lived in Haiti for four years, and reaching family
in Port-au-Prince would require crossing a gang-controlled area, where
killings are common.

[image: The War on Immigrants]
<https://theintercept.com/collections/the-war-on-immigrants/>

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced the new
designation of Haiti for temporary protected status in May. “Haiti is
currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an
increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic
resources, which are exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. “After
careful consideration, we determined that we must do what we can to support
Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve so
they may safely return home.”

Conditions have not improved, and yet a mass deportation of historic size
to the beleaguered Caribbean nation continues at extraordinary pace. Haiti
remains beset by the aftermath of another devastating hurricane, gang
warfare, and an acute political crisis — for which centuries of white
supremacist U.S. oppression and intervention bares considerable historic
blame. As The Intercept’s Ryan Devereaux reported
<https://theintercept.com/2021/07/26/colombian-mercenaries-haiti-jovenel-moise-assassination/>,
the July assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse, which plunged
the country into political disarray, involved U.S.-trained Colombian
mercenaries. It is another great, unbroken American tradition: to
destabilize foreign nations and then forego all obligations to the mass
migrations that the U.S. helped produce.

“We are in utter disbelief that the Biden Administration would deport
Haitians now. Hours after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, President Joe Biden
released a statement saying that the United States was a ‘friend’ of Haiti.
A ‘friend’ does not continuously inflict pain on another friend,” Guerline
Jozef, co-founder and executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance,
said in a statement. “Just one month after this devastating earthquake and
storm that resulted in the deaths of over 2,200 Haitians, injured 12,000
people, damaged or destroyed 120,000 homes and displaced hundreds of
thousands of people, the Administration sent a plane full of families to
Haiti under Title 42, including children under the age of three, without
offering them legal protection and the opportunity to file for asylum.”

[image: Haiti US Deported]

[image: Haiti US Deported]

Haitians, deported from the United States, deplane at the Toussaint
Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Sept. 19,
2021.Photos: Joseph Odelyn/AP

*Last Thursday,* a federal judge ruled
<https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/17/biden-administration-appeals-order-to-stop-expelling-migrants-under-trump-era-covid-policy.html>
that the government must stop using Title 42 as a grounds to expel
migrants. The Biden administration is so keen to keep using the public
health law and denying people’s right to seek asylum in the U.S. that it
has already appealed the order. The ruling, if not overturned, gave the
government two weeks before it must end the use of the law for expulsions —
little wonder that the U.S. is rushing to expel as many Haitian refugees as
possible at breakneck speed.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration continues to frame the mass
deportations in humanitarian terms. “We are working around the clock to
expeditiously move migrants out of the heat, elements, and from underneath
this bridge to our processing facilities in order to quickly process and
remove individuals from the United States consistent with our laws and our
policies,” said
<https://apnews.com/article/health-mexico-texas-caribbean-immigration-56f1f0093039e2a43e128b7ef0015485>
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz at a Sunday news conference at the Del Rio
bridge. As if removal to Haiti were the only option in the face of the
humanitarian crisis; as if the wealthiest nation in the world could not well
accommodate
<https://theintercept.com/2019/07/06/migration-open-borders-deterrence-mass-murder/>
millions of migrants seeking safety and a better life. Instead,
exclusionary border logic prevails as if it were a transcendental truth.

There’s no doubt that the crisis at the border presents a challenge and a
political minefield for Biden. The population of Del Rio is only 35,000,
and the border encampment grew to nearly half that size. In such
circumstances, Republican racist, paranoiac claims flourish about a “great
replacement” of white Americans by brown and Black migrants. Indeed, Sen.
Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was swift to take footage
<https://twitter.com/tedcruz/status/1438704128037900289> of the inhumane
conditions at the encampment and blame Democrats for bringing migrants to
the border in great and allegedly unmanageable numbers.

It is both political folly, as well as moral turpitude, for Democrats to
bend even further rightward on immigration in an attempt to satiate the
insatiable.

The encampment is a humanitarian disaster, but it is also a political
nightmare for the Biden administration. The only option is not, however, to
clear the camp through inhumane expulsions and far-right appeasement.
Republicans will misleadingly frame Biden as advocating for open borders,
regardless of how harsh and anti-immigrant his policies remain. It is both
political folly, as well as moral turpitude, for Democrats to bend even
further rightward on immigration in an attempt to satiate the insatiable.

If the political hit is coming anyway, as it is, the way forward is clear.
There is no doubt that the men, women, and children gathered at the border
in intolerable conditions — hungry, unsheltered, and harassed by law
enforcement — should not be there. They should be swiftly aided in their
entry to this country.
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