Sep 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

UN "disturbed" by U.S. deportation of Haitian migrants and asylum seekers

Picture of two Haitian boys in water crossing the U.S.-Mexico border
Two Haitian boys cross the water at the US-Mexico border on the Rio Grande. Photo: PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images

Several United Nations agencies on Tuesday expressed concern over the U.S. deportation of Haitian migrants and asylum seekers, Reuters reports.

What they're saying: "While some people arriving at the border may not be refugees, anyone who ... claims to have a well-founded fear of being persecuted in their country of origin — they should have access to asylum and to have their claim assessed before being subjected to expulsion or deportation," said UN Refugee Agency spokesperson Shabia Mantoo, per Reuters.

  • "We are disturbed by the images that we have seen and by the fact that we have seen all these migrants and refugees and asylum-seekers in transport to Port-au-Prince," said UN human rights spokesperson Marta Hurtado.
  • "We are seriously concerned by the fact that it appears there have not been any individual assessments of the cases," she added.

The big picture: More than 10,000 migrants and asylum seekers have been temporarily staying in a crowded camp under the bridge that connects Texas and Mexico after crossing the Southern border.

  • Many are fleeing extreme poverty, disaster and political unrest.
  • In recent days, the U.S. has started deportation flights to Haiti under Title 42. The Trump-era policy allows the government to fast-track deportations during the pandemic. Immigrant rights groups have called the policy "racist" and "illegal."

Images of Border Patrol agents whipping migrants in Del Rio prompted outrage on Monday, with many pointing to the agency's history of violence against people of color.

  • A Department of Homeland Security told Axios that the agency "does not tolerate the abuse of migrants in our custody and we take these allegations very seriously."
  • Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility is currently investigating the incident.
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