Washington, D.C. – As Haiti endures additional torment from Tropical Storm Grace, compounding already life-threatening conditions and widespread suffering caused by the 7.2 earthquake that killed more than 1,900 people when it struck over the weekend, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) urgently calls on the United States to halt all deportations and expulsions to Haiti as the country navigates these latest developments. Haitians, including unaccompanied children, must be allowed territorial access to the United States to be able to seek protection.
“The Biden Administration should immediately cease deporting and expelling Haitians so as not to cause additional and needless suffering and harm,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Deportations and expulsions to Haiti, as well as turnbacks that force those seeking protection to wait in perilous conditions in Mexico or another country, are counter to the administration’s recognition of conditions in Haiti through the recent extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). They are also inconsistent with U.S. laws. The administration should ensure that all Haitians and those seeking protection whose lives and safety are at risk are afforded the opportunity to request protection at our borders and at all ports of entry to the United States.”
As the crisis in Haiti continues to unfold, the United States must prioritize protection of those fleeing the region and others who continue to approach the U.S. southern border. KIND remains concerned by the administration’s refusal to rescind Title 42 and its continued use to deport and expel Haitians and others from the United States, a policy that is counter to U.S. and international law. The environmental, social, and political conditions in Haiti have long prompted thousands of Haitians—including unaccompanied children—to look to the United States for legal protection. And now thousands of Haitians remain marooned at the U.S.’ southern border, enduring discrimination and, in some instances, violence in Mexican border towns.
The organization is similarly concerned about the potential use and restoration of the “Remain in Mexico” policy following a court decision last week directing its indefinite implementation, a ruling the Biden Administration appealed yesterday. More than 1,500 migrants sent back to Mexico under Remain in Mexico were raped, kidnapped, tortured, assaulted, and trafficked, as was documented by human rights organizations.
“While the administration still has a long way to go before its realization of a humane immigration system is achieved, the treatment of Haitians seeking safety in the United States is a key opportunity to take another step forward toward this important goal,” noted Young. “The United States has deployed staff and resources to Haiti to help survivors of the earthquake, a vital step. For the administration to then also send Haitians back into harm’s way would not only be senseless and cruel, but it would also deepen the grave humanitarian issues U.S. assistance is trying to address.”
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-631-9990