USA and the UK
Migrant camps at the southern border
In an attempt to gain asylum in the United States, 30,000 migrants set up a massive camp beneath the bridge that connects Del Rio, Texas to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico. The majority of the camp consisted of Haitian nationals who had left Haiti following the deadly earthquake in 2010. Since their departure from Haiti, these nationals have been living in South America and have traveled north to the border due to being unable to secure jobs and valid legal status.
Since the camps have been cleared, an estimated 13,000 migrants were processed under U.S. immigration laws where they were allowed to a hearing before a judge resulting in 3,000 of these migrants being sent to detention centers. In addition, an estimated 8,000 migrants returned to Mexico voluntarily and 4,000 migrants remain in U.S. custody while awaiting either expulsion or release.
In the past 9 days, the U.S. has deported nearly 4,000 Haitian migrants back to Haiti. Amongst these deportees include hundreds of families with children who were not allowed to seek asylum.
After many years abroad, many migrants who were deported back to the impoverished nation were understandably upset. Many migrants upon returning to Port-au-Prince rushed back to the aircraft in an attempt to reboard while others threw shoes at the jet.
Despite living in South America for the past several years, many were returned to Haiti as they did not have legal immigration papers from the countries in which they have been residing.
Haiti, already a nation beset with poverty and hardship, has suffered more difficulties in the past year due to the assassination in July of President Jovenel Moïse and another deadly earthquake in August. Given the state of the country, many are putting pressure on the Biden administration to grant asylum to Haitians rather than deporting them back to their home country.
Special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, recently resigned in protest over the deportation of Haitian migrants calling the decision to return the migrants “inhumane” due to the “collapsed state” which Haiti has become. Furthermore, he also stated that Haiti “simply cannot support the forced infusion of thousands of returned migrants lacking food, shelter, and money without additional, avoidable human tragedy”.
Deportations due to Coronavirus concerns
A majority of the recent mass deportations at the U.S.’s southern border were carried out under Title 42, an emergency pandemic-era policy that prohibits the entry of persons who pose a health risk to the general public. Those who are gathered in the migrant camps at the border are believed to be exposed to Covid-19. However, those who were returned to Haiti were not tested for Covid-19.
Title 42 was first implemented by the Trump administration in March 2020 as a way to allow the rapid expulsion of those migrants seeking asylum at the southern border. In January 2021, the Biden administration prevented underage minors from being subject to it. However, those Haitian minors who were deported were not protected from Title 42 when they were sent to Haiti.
Many are calling for the abolishment of Title 42 including 30 public health experts who wrote to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Rochelle Walensky, the head of the CDC. In the letter, they stated that Title 42 was “scientifically baseless and politically motivated” in addition to violating the migrants’ right to seek asylum.
Last modified on May 25th, 2022 at 3:17 am
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