Last week, the United States Border Patrol denied thousands of Haitians seeking asylum.
Thousands of Haitians attempted to cross the Rio Grande River between the U.S.-Mexico borders to seek asylum in the U.S., but they were violently attacked by border patrol agents.
The United States government used Title 42-The Public Health and Welfare code of 1944 to deport and refuse refugees. If an infectious disease exists in a foreign country, people from the country may increase the risk of danger for the disease. The U.S. law said those people can be expelled from the U.S. in the interest of public health.
The asylum seekers’ human rights were violated and disregarded. The incident at the border, as well as the government response, displays anti-Blackness within the policies themselves. Change needs to happen so Black people no longer suffer from these policies.
Picture you and your family forced to go on a dangerous journey to a place thousands of miles away from your home. You have great hopes of seeking refuge in this place and making it your new home, only to be denied. Instead, you are verbally and physically abused at the doors of this new home.
Can you imagine border patrol agents riding on horses, chasing you and your family while whipping you with their horse reins? Government officials have said these claims were false, but there have been photos which appear to disapprove those claims.
Black immigrants are disproportionately detained and deported in America, but when conversations about immigration occur, Black people are often not mentioned at all. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Black immigrants make up around 7% of the non-citizen population while being accounted for over 20% of deportation proceedings.
Haitians made up 44% of the families in detention centers at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to the Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services.
Xenophobia and anti-Black sentiments are some of the many problems Black immigrants face when seeking asylum in new countries, especially in the U.S. It is imperative that their voices are amplified when immigration policies are mentioned. It has been shown many times they suffer far more from these policies.
The COVID-19 pandemic allowed Title 42 to be used as an anti-immigration policy under both the current and previous presidents’ administrations. The continued abuse of this policy is responsible for the suffering of Haitians seeking asylum.
Politicians and other officials often call countries made up of primarily Black people, like Haiti, poor countries. The previous president even suggested Haitians should not be considered in any immigration laws after saying horrible things about Haiti and other African countries.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” he said. “Take them out.”
In an interview with the View, Vice President Kamala Harris said the images showing border patrol officers whipping Haitian refugees were “deeply troubling, and invoked images of some the worst moments in our history.”
Instead of talking about what is wrong, people in positions of power, like Harris, could take action and end these laws that often cause more harm than good.
Suffering people do not need opinions or sympathy about what they’re going through. The Haitians who had their human rights violated don’t need to hear from politicians. They need immediate action.
Those Haitians who were denied at the border should have been welcomed, not turned away.
People in positions of power should be doing everything they can to make sure that these laws and policies no longer exist.