Seeking Refuge: The Unjust Mass Deportation of Haitians


Sofia Felan

Border patrol agents push Haitians trying to cross the Rio Grande with a hope of seeking asylum.

Gabriela McGrath Moreira, OverFlow Editor

Immigration is one of the most complex topics the United States has faced as a nation. Currently, countless Haitian immigrants are seeking refuge from life-threatening situations. This crisis is yet another example of harmful immigration policy that is not the fault of one political party; instead, it is a product of an institution built on discrimination and prejudice.

After the assassination of the nation’s president on July 7, coupled with a massive earthquake and gang warlords trying to grab territory, Haitians are grappling with immense changes in very little time. Food insecurity and poverty are now at an all time high and people want out, rightly so. Many Haitians are trying to request asylum, but are only given one option once they make it to the United States: to go back to Haiti. Even though the Biden administration prided themselves on not following in the footsteps of Trump’s anti-immigrant propaganda, they seem to be failing at completing this promise.

Haitians who have recently made the long trek in order to come to the U.S. reportedly faced inhumane treatment and unbearable living conditions at the hands of detention centers and the treacherous terrain they traverse. Seeking asylum near a small town in Texas called Del Rio on the U.S. border, thousands of Haitians set up a makeshift camp in 100 degree weather hoping to be let into the U.S. As they try and find safety across the Rio Grande, border patrol agents on horseback often push them into the river and assault them physically and verbally.

“I find this topic of immigration very dear and true to my heart with parents who have migrated here with 2 born children, and me on the way. The fact that many of these immigrants are being not only turned away, but faced with some of the worst conditions known to homeland security under an administration that supposedly was going to “fix it”; and of immigrants that are simply seeking better living standards: a natural born right to not only United States citizens but as human beings on this Earth to have the availability to solely want a more fulfilling and safe experience in their country for them and their posterity,” sophomore Amalia Garrido said.

Instead of finding safety in the U.S., they are being rapidly deported under an emergency provision called Title 42, which was used by Donald Trump to keep immigrants out of the country under the premise that they pose a health risk. It was expected that the Biden administration would remove Title 42 and reform the system, but all they did was change some of its wording. Only few exceptions have been made for specific family circumstances and unaccompanied children. What was thought to be the land of freedom for people from all walks of life is now one where only few are able to make it in and only after experiencing immense uncertainty, danger and hardship.The U.S. repeatedly has handled the immigrant crises horribly. The system is so cruel and it’s heartbreaking seeing those pictures on how the border patrol treats humans,

The U.S. repeatedly has handled the immigrant crises horribly. The system is so cruel and it’s heartbreaking seeing those pictures on how the border patrol treats humans,

— sophomore Beatriz Carvalho

The main reason the Biden administration is holding on to Title 42 is the influx of migrants, which would make it even more difficult for the U.S. House and Senate to agree on policy decisions. With political division at an all time high, Biden is taking a more centrist approach. The fact of the matter is, if the Biden administration prefers to please the Republican party instead of assisting an ongoing humanitarian crisis, then his decision to preach to the progressive choir was not one that will secure his future support, nor does it reflect well on his character.

U.S. immigration policy has proven to be outdated and causes more harm than good. The U.S. special envoy for Haiti, Daniel Foote, understood this ineffective policy, but he knew there would be no way to change it, leading him to resign because of the “inhumane” deportation policy the Biden administration was upholding. As the Haitian immigrant crisis continues to ruin families and livelihoods, the U.S. should be a place of freedom for these victims and all those who seek refuge in the United States. The manner in which the U.S. goes about immigration is shameful and disturbing. For this reason, moving forward and working together to initiate change on immigration is essential in mitigating these crises.