Miami Responds to U.S. Deportation of Haitian Migrants

Protestors call for the halt of Haitian deportation in Miami, Sept. 22. Photo tweeted by Nadege Green.

Diego Diaz / Asst. News Director

Miami demonstrators took to the streets last week, calling on President Joe Biden to halt the mass deportation and harsh treatment of Haitian migrants on the U.S. southern border.

More than 100 protestors marched in front of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Miami on Wednesday, Sept. 22, blocking parts of Northwest 7 Ave.

“It’s very humiliating to see what is happening to my fellow Haitians,” said Nicolas 

André, a native of Haiti and associate professor of Haitian Creole at FIU.

The protest was part of a national response toward the U.S. deportation policy against Haitian migrants escaping their country’s turmoil. 

The deportation policy was most brutally seen in Del Rio, Texas on Sept. 19, when Border Patrol on horseback attempted to wip, shove and grab Haitian men, women and children away from the border. 

It took Biden five days to address the event. He called their actions “horrible,” and promised “those people will pay.”

“I think the history is a constant repetition since the very beginning,” said André. “Haitians are not the only group in this situation, but they are the ones who receive the worst treatment.”

Recent natural disasters and political instability in Haiti caused the influx of migrants. 

However, the Biden administration has continued to utilize public health law Title 42 – which allows the US to halt immigration due to health crises- as a means of circumventing Haitian asylum claims and streamlining expulsion. 

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations’ top refugee official, argued on Tuesday, Sept. 21, that the recent efforts of asylum breaks international laws regarding the treatment of refugees.

“There should be a way for these refugees to enter, and not just get deported,” said André.

Daniel Foote, the U.S. special envoy to Haiti, stepped down Thursday, Sept. 23,  following the “inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants,” stated in his letter of resignation.

Reports indicate that of the original 15,000 on the Texas border, 2,000 have been flown back to Haiti; 8,000 returned to Mexico; 5,000 are being processed by the Department of Homeland security.

Some republicans think Biden should take stronger action on immigration.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently sued the Biden administration for its imigration policy. He also authorized Florida Law Enforcement to detain any vehicle “reasonably believed to be transporting illegal aliens to Florida.”

The U.S. immigration response at the border does not surprise him.

“Sometimes politicians need the vote, but they don’t do anything after because of who [Haitians] are and how they are seen by those officials,” said André.

On the contrary, he holds hope after last week’s protest.

“Many people know what is happening through social media, which has helped a lot,” said André. “I’m not optimistic, but I am hopeful for the future.”