Washington, D.C. — Today, Patrick Gaspard, president and chief executive officer of the Center for American Progress, traveled to Del Rio, Texas, where Haitian refugees have gathered in recent days. Gaspard issued the following statement:
All Americans should be appalled by the conditions facing migrants at the U.S. southern border. Many families—even those with small children—came here seeking protection, to escape from natural disasters, poverty and violence, and political instability in their home country of Haiti. It is not an easy decision for anyone to make.
The Biden administration must do more to protect Haitians, starting by immediately halting deportations back to Haiti. Current conditions in the country cannot support these deportations. The administration must also ensure that all people at the border are, at a bare minimum, treated humanely and given food and water, shelter, and medical care as needed. Likewise, the administration must investigate and hold accountable the actions of U.S. Border Patrol in recent days, including the horrific images of agents apparently using whips on Haitian migrants. Such mistreatment is unacceptable and must never be allowed.
Finally, I call on the Biden administration to commit to a firm timeline to end Title 42, the Trump-era policy that has been invoked to turn away individuals seeking asylum. We must recommit to being a nation that welcomes asylum-seekers, and such a timeline should include the steps the administration will take to ensure an orderly process for asylum that respects human rights. In the interim—while Title 42 is still in place and Haitians cannot be returned to Haiti—the administration should use humanitarian parole to allow people in danger at the border to temporarily enter the United States while they pursue their claims for protection, through asylum and other similar statuses.
We must work together to rebuild the refugee system and find more pathways to give protection for Haitians, both in the United States and in neighboring countries. Throughout its history, the United States has been a beacon of hope for those seeking freedom, and we must uphold that principle. As such, the United States has a moral responsibility in our foreign policy to support Haitian civil society as the nation works to build an inclusive democracy.
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Claudia Montecinos at gro.ssergorpnacirema@sonicetnomc.