A Call to Action: justice for Haitian people at the U.S Border
September 22, 2021
We are a collective of Black and professional academic organizations and activist formations that stand in solidarity as we advocate for the humane treatment of Haitian asylum seekers at the Texas border. Almost 15,000 Haitian migrants are camped in Texas after crossing from Mexico because current U.S. policies do not protect their human right to present their cases for asylum to border officials. We say NO to acts of violence and dehumanization by the United States government and its agents toward Haitian refugees and undocumented migrants. This treatment is being meted out to them, in our assessment, because of anti-Black racism and odious racialized stereotypes about Blackness, Haitianness, and immigrant identity. We refuse to remain silent in the face of the devastation being experienced by Haitian people. The color of their skin should not be used against them. Through its “Remain in Mexico” policy and under the provisions of Title 42 (within which the Trump administration in March 2020, implemented an order targeting migrants which closed the border to asylum seekers under the pretense of public health concerns regarding COVID-19), and other illegal policies of deterrence, the United States has a direct hand in the increased numbers of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Deportation and particularly of Haitian people is bipartisan; Obama earned the title of “deporter in chief.” As of September 21, 2021, the Biden administration continues to invoke Title 42 to already deport 6000 people to Haïti - in one of the fastest and largest-scale expulsions of asylum seekers in United States history. This is unconscionable and a violation of international law. We stand together and demand the U.S. government, first and foremost, to immediately revoke Title 42 and halt all expulsions of Haitian and other Black and Brown migrants from the United States. The deportation of Haitian asylum seekers from the United States is particularly egregious given the heightened vulnerability Haïti faces as a result of Hurricane Grace and the August 14th earthquakes that hit the southern region of the country. According to CBS News, Hurricane Grace destroyed 7,000 homes, leaving 30,000 families without shelter, and approximately 1,500 people died. The UN office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs reports that the earthquakes led to the deaths of more than 2,200 people; at least 344 are missing, over 12,000 were injured, and upwards of 130,000 homes damaged or destroyed, including churches and schools. Moreover, the United States’ continued interference in Haïti’s internal affairs has created the conditions for political upheaval, generalized insecurity, and economic precarity. Moreover, along with the Core Group, the United States' continued interference in Haiti's internal affairs - including supporting Moïse's illegal mandate and determining the country's governing structure - has created the conditions that people are fleeing, and exerting direct control since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July.
We demand that the administration follow international law and allow migrants to exercise their rights to request asylum. We also request that the United States and Mexico work jointly to implement a plan of care that:
1) protects the human rights of migrants to arrive safely at ports of entry to make their asylum claims;
2) removes restrictions for migrants seeking asylum;
3) provides and includes temporary accommodations for Haitian and other asylum seekers as they wait to exercise their human rights,
4) gives access to organizations that provide legal counsel and aid to asylum seekers and;
5) establishes a system of humanitarian assistance care (including food and healthcare especially for the pregnant and for newborns) to treat with dignity those awaiting asylum processing.
We also call on the Biden Administration to remove immigration officers who have abused migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees at the border. Although the policing problems at the border are similar to the policing problems that we have in our state and local areas, immigration officers are federal employees and contractors. These immigration officers should be removed from federal service and federal contractors who employ them should face stiff legal and financial penalties. The Biden Administration should hold these employees and contractors accountable.
Association of Black Anthropologists
Haitian Studies Association
National Conference of Black Political Scientists
African American Intellectual History Society
Africana Institute for Creativity Recognition and Elevation, UC-Irvine
Association for the Study of Black Women in Politics
Christopher Martin, Esq. from The Law Office of Christopher Martin
European Network of People of African Descent
Guyana Reparations Committee
Haiti Support Group
Haitian Bridge Alliance
Journal of Haitian Studies
NAACP Pomona Valley
National Council For Black Studies
National Economic Association
Observatory of Justice for Afrodescendants in Latin America
The Caribbean Philosophical Association
The Truth Telling Project of Ferguson and Beyond
UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab | People of African Descent & the Sustainable Development Goals E-Team
University of California, Santa Barbara Education Opportunity Program
University of California, Santa Barbara Haitian Studies Initiatives
University of California, Santa Barbara Office of Black Student Development
University of California, Santa Barbara, Multicultural Center
US Human Rights Network
Women for Progress of MS, Inc.
Interested organizations can add your name here
The Truth Telling Project takes an unyielding stand with teachers, administrators, parents and young people throughout this nation to uphold the right to learn the truth about this nation’s history--the reality of transatlantic chattel slavery, its continuing vestiges, and the US settler-colonial regimen upon which the expansion of the U.S. empire was built on indigenous lands. We uphold the 20 year old body of scholarly research known as Critical Race Theory (CRT) that is presently trickling down from Higher Education to K-12 schools and challenge those in favor of a “patriotic education” to explore their discomfort and become unsettled as this nation confronts the truth about our history. True education is the ladder upon which the soul ascends, the intellect develops, and purpose and meaning is discovered. Education is one of the most fundamental factors in advancing civilization and building lasting peace and security.
We endorse the educational efforts of curricular resources that expose all voices, all experiences, all his, hers, and their stories in the K-12 curriculum.
Our hearts are heavy as we write this message. While the conviction of a guilty verdict for the murder of George Floyd was reached, and is a step toward accountability of police officers for the murder of Black and Brown bodies, it is evident with the murder of Ma'khia Bryant shortly after that our work is not done. This conviction may bring closure for the Floyd family, we must continue to seek justice for the senseless and negligible killings of our people by police officers in our communities supported by a system of White Supremacy. The jury did their due diligence to bring accountability for George Floyd’s death, but we are far from justice. Floyd, Bryant, and so many more should still be alive to live another day. Not long after the conviction of Derek Chauvin, and before we could fully grieve the loss of 16 yr. old Ma’Khia Bryant, a push for legislation in multiple states has been passed restricting our right and freedom to protest against the atrocities we are seeking to redress. Laws have been passed in Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa, and Indiana to criminalize protesting, restricting those convicted of unlawful assembly from holding public office, granting immunity to vehicles that strike protestors by restricting their access to student loans, unemployment, or housing assistance. We must continue the fight to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, work for prison abolition, and defund police until we have reached a point in which being a BIPOC individual does not automatically sully a crime scene and doesn't result in our deaths by those responsible to serve and protect.