One month after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake killed over 2,200 Haitians and left 650,000 more in need of humanitarian assistance, the Biden administration is undertaking a mass expulsion of Haitians seeking safety in the United States. Under the guise of stopping the spread of Covid-19 through the Trump-era Title 42 policy, migrants are being sent back to a country reeling from overlapping crises and decades of political upheaval and natural disasters. Returning to Haiti is not a viable option for them.
Waiting in squalid conditions in Texas, thousands of Haitians are being denied the opportunity to apply for asylum, a right to which they are entitled by law. The United States has a long history of racist discrimination against Black migrants from Haiti as compared to migrants from other countries. We see this reflected in the response to the current crisis.
Fortunately, there has been a groundswell of protest. Haitian and Black-led organizations are on the front lines of this response, providing humanitarian relief and advocating with officials to demand an end to the deportation flights. The American Civil Liberties Union and others have filed a class-action lawsuit seeking to end the expulsions. Members of Congress are calling on officials to stop these mass deportations and to take administrative actions that will help protect Haitian asylum seekers and improve management of the border. In a bold move, the U.S. special envoy to Haiti quit his post in protest of what he called the “inhumane and counterproductive” deportations of Haitians.
Philanthropy can join the effort to protect imperiled Haitian migrants. Invest in under-resourced community groups such as Haitian Bridge Alliance, UndocuBlack Network, and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Resource organizations that support and advocate for asylum seekers, and provide flexible, informed support with minimal administrative hurdles. Last but not least, call on the Biden administration to stop these mass removals.
GCIR is taking action, too. Our California Dignity for Families Fund has expanded to include support for newly arriving Haitians and Afghans. In April, we hosted a webinar showcasing the work of Black immigrant leaders, including Haitians. To learn more about GCIR’s response and actions funders can take, read our statement Safe Haven for Afghans and Haitians in Crisis.