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The National Black Justice Coalition Demands Asylum for Haitian Refugees

CONTACT: Anna Zuccaro | 

WASHINGTON, DC –– The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) remains in solidarity with the Haitian migrants currently seeking refuge in the United States. Many have left Haiti due to the social and political unrest in the country, including their president’s assassination, earthquakes, violence, and a lack of resources. The Biden-Harris Administration has been sending Haitians back to Haiti, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said they will turn people away at the border. In just nine days, 4,000 Haitian migrants have been deported, including families with children.    

“I was disgusted by last week’s images of border agents heading off migrants on horseback with whips, along with other aggressive tactics not typically seen when migrants are white. This inhumane treatment should never be experienced by refugees when they are trying to enter this country,” said Executive Director David J. Johns. 

“The Haitian migrants are fleeing a dangerous and life-threatening situation and deserve to be treated with care and respect for their humanity. The migrants at the border should not be deported or detained, but granted asylum in the United States. I urge the Biden-Harris Administration to reverse their decision and advocate for legislation to be passed that will create a pathway to citizenship for all migrants, asylum seekers, and immigrants.” 

The United States special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, has resigned from his position, stating he does not want to be associated with deporting those seeking refuge. Title 42, a clause of the 1944 Public Health Service Law that permits health offices to stop allowing people into the country if they pose a severe risk of introducing disease, is currently being used to deport the Haitian refugees. The Trump administration invoked the law in March 2020 to expel people crossing the border, citing a concern over the spread of COVID-19.   

“The public deserves to see credible and unbiased data disaggregated by race or ethnicity of asylum seekers being granted refuge versus being deported alongside the COVID-19 rates from the various countries of origin to determine whether this is another example of our government picking and choosing who gets to have safety based on the color of our skin,” said David J. Johns, Executive Director. 

“These deportations are particularly painful given the centuries-long poor treatment of Haiti, which goes back to the enslaved overthrowing colonizers and maintaining their independence during the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.”

In our 2021 Policy Agenda, we call for comprehensive immigration reform that acknowledges the unique and overlooked needs of Black immigrants, including the Haitian refugees currently at the border and the 4,000 currently en route to the United States. Read more in our Policy Agenda HERE.   

NBJC also agrees with the recommendations of UndocuBlack and many others, that include ending the use of Title 42, enacting a system in which Haitian refugees can easily apply for humanitarian parole, and significantly decreasing the budgets for the Department of Homeland Security; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Customs, and Border Protection, used to over-incarcerate and detain people of color.

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.