Oct 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate Dems express "outrage over the cruel treatment" of Haitian migrants

Picture of Sen. Bob Menendez
Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) along with 15 other senators sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week denouncing the U.S. treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers at the border.

State of play: The senators called on the Biden administration to appoint a new special envoy for Haiti and work with international partners to secure protections for Haitian migrants, as well as solutions for "long-term stability of Haiti."

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), among others, also signed the letter.

The big picture: The Biden administration faced increased scrutiny last month over the treatment of thousands of Haitian migrants who had gathered in Del Rio, Texas. Most were deported under Title 42, a Trump-era policy that allows the government to fast-track deportations during the pandemic.

  • Many Haitian migrants who arrived at the U.S. border were fleeing extreme poverty, disaster and political unrest.
  • Haiti is experiencing increasing political instability following the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse and an earthquake earlier this year that killed more than 2,200 people and left another 12,000 people injured.

Catch up quick: Daniel Foote, former special envoy to Haiti, last month resigned from his position saying that he "will not be associated with the United States' inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

What they're saying: "Over the course of our lifetimes, our Haitian brothers and sisters have endured dictatorships, constitutional crises, food insecurity, pandemics, natural disasters, forced displacement, the assassination of their President, and the criminal takeover of their communities," the senators wrote in the letter.

  • "Their resilience is unparalleled and our communities in the United States have flourished as a result of the presence of Haitian immigrants and their American children."
  • "Ensuring the integrity of U.S. borders is of utmost importance, and is not incompatible with the fundamental duty to respect the dignity, humanity, and rights of all individuals seeking entry to the United States."

Read the letter below:

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