For Immediate Release: September 16, 2021
We Are Home Campaign: Deportations to Haiti are Unconscionable and Must Stop Now
Washington, D.C. – Reports are coming out that the Biden administration has sent another deportation flight to Haiti despite political unrest and a recent earthquake that exacerbated already dire humanitarian conditions in the country.
Bridgette Gomez, Campaign Director for the We Are Home campaign said:
“It is unconscionable to deport anyone to Haiti at this time. Haiti is experiencing a political crisis and increasing violence, and a recent earthquake and tropical storm have severely damaged Haitian infrastructure and deepened the country’s humanitarian crisis. Deportations to Haiti must stop now.”
Guerline Jozef, co-founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance said:
”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. And yet, today, 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.”
Patrice S. Lawrence, Co-Director for the UndocuBlack Network, Steering Committee Member of the We Are Home campaign said:
“Earlier this week, the White House produced accolades, tweets, statements of support for the immigrant and undocumented communities ahead of the House Judiciary Markup of legalization language. Yesterday, 86 individuals were deported to Haiti, a short few weeks after a major earthquake there and the assasination of the nation’s president. The word “irony”comes to mind and we collectively question which immigrants the Biden-Harris Administration truly supports. Stop the deportation flights now and immediately stand up parole and relief programs for all Haitians fleeing into the United States.”
The Rev. Alvin Herring, Executive Director of Faith In Action, said:
“The continued deportation of Haitians by the Biden/Harris Administration is shameful. It’s made unconscionable by the ongoing pandemic and the conditions on the ground in Haiti as it recovers from a devastating earthquake. There is little security in the capital, with continued kidnappings and murders by gangs associated with the former president.
“Deportations disrupt families and destabilize communities. They must end.
“Our prayers are with the Haitians who were deported yesterday and with those who love them. First we grieve. Then we will push ahead for a just and equitable immigration system and foreign aid that actually addresses the root causes that force people to leave their beloved homes.”
Sirine Shebaya, Executive Director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, said:
“This unconscionable deportation represents another broken promise from the Biden administration. Beyond the injustice of continuing to deport immigrants, and Black immigrants in particular, under a system that is fundamentally unjust and stacked against people of color, deporting 86 people to Haiti when the U.S. government itself has acknowledged the danger and instability of the situation there boggles the mind. This administration made promises to our communities. It must change course and keep those promises before more people are exposed to danger and death.”
Heidi Altman, Director of Policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center, said:
“A deportation flight to Haiti is cruelty embodied. The Biden Administration is forcibly deporting individuals to a country in the throes of suffering, while separating families and communities, blatantly disregarding their own commitment to human decency, asylum, and racial equity in the immigration system.”
Avideh Moussavian, Director of Federal Advocacy at the National Immigration Law Center, said:
“Conditions in Haiti remain acutely unstable, and our government has recognized this. It is unacceptable that the administration authorized the deportation of dozens of Haitian people back to danger under these circumstances. The Biden administration must demonstrate a commitment to ensuring vulnerable immigrants are treated with dignity and can safely access protection.”
In May 2021, the Biden Administration designated Haiti for TPS, recognizing that a growing political crisis, serious security concerns, and an increase in human rights abuses, among other factors, prevented Haitian nationals from safely returning.
Since May, the conditions in Haiti have only become worse, with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July, and a 7.2 earthquake that hit the country in August, followed by a tropical storm.
UNICEF reports that over 2,200 people died, 12,200 people were injured, and 130,000 homes destroyed due to these natural disasters, adding to the impact of political instability and escalating gang violence that have displaced 19,000 people and affected 1.5 million people.
In late August, 344 organizations sent a letter to the Biden Administration calling for the halt of all deportations to the country.
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the U.S. government halted deportations to Haiti for about a year.
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We Are Home is a nationwide campaign to fight for immigrant communities on three fronts: prioritizing and demanding a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America; a moratorium and overhaul of interior enforcement; and broad affirmative relief from deportation. We Are Home is co-chaired by Community Change/Community Change Action; National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)/Care in Action; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); United Farm Workers/UFW Foundation; and United We Dream.