The Biden Administration deported more than 16,000 Haitian refugees between September 19, 2021 and January 25, 2022. A large portion of these expulsions are family groups; nearly 20% of those expelled are children. The obscenity of expelling refugee children, some as young as 15 days old, would seem to require no complicated exegesis to demonstrate. It is quite obviously the wrong thing to do. Yet, Biden persists.
Most of these expulsions have been done under the guise of a public health order referred to as Title 42. The Trump Administration implemented Title 42 policies in March of 2020, claiming the authority to immediately expel anyone - including refugees. No processing other than a name check is done, and then people are kicked out. Biden has refused to rescind the order. One result is that the Biden Administration has now removed well over one million people - more people in one year than any president ever.
Approximately 86.7% of the Haitians removed in 2021 were expelled under Title 42, or 12,589 of the 14,504 people expelled between January and December of 2021. This does not include 8,000 Haitians the administration claims voluntarily returned Mexico from Del Rio, Texas in September (“volunteered” under threat of arrest, detention and deportation). Indeed, those individuals, basically forced back across the Rio Grande by Border Patrol agents, do not seem to appear in the Customs and Border Protection dataset for that month. When the Del Rio catastrophe happened in September, launching the current mass expulsions, it took the Biden Administration less than one week to disappear 15,000 Haitians from the public view.
Haitians constitute a fairly small proportion of people trying to cross the border - just 2.5% of all Border Patrol encounters during 2021. However, over the same period, 15% of all removal flights were to Haiti; reaching as high as 30% of all flights in September when Haitian migration reached its highest point, but was still only 8.4% of all encounters that month. Admittedly, the vast majority of people expelled under Title 42 are pushed back over the border with Mexico - not flown. However, this still represents a significant number of flights given the comparatively small number of Haitians attempting entry into the United States.
At the same time, Haiti is in a demonstrably unstable and insecure situation. People being returned are at risk, plain and simple, and Biden knows this. He is sending them back in record numbers anyway. One is tempted to think Biden simply does not care, and he has demonstrated such a lack of concern in the past.
Biden once infamously quipped, "If Haiti, a God awful thing to say, if Haiti just quietly sunk into the Caribbean or rose up 300 feet, it wouldn't matter a whole lot in terms of our interest.” He made this statement as part of explaining his opposition to a US operation to reinstate Aristide.
In opposing US military intervention in Haiti in 1994, Biden was not taking a principled stance against the use of force. No, to Biden Haiti just didn’t matter. The daily massacre of civilians at the hands of paramilitary forces in 1994 (many of those forces trained by the US gov’t, but that’s another story) was not worth our time. The only reason to care at all was to ensure that Haitians didn’t actually leave Haiti.
And so, Biden stated, “the only consequence that it has immediately for U.S., direct U.S. interest, it continues to ferment this whole notion of what we'd refer to -- most Americans would refer to -- as illegal immigration, a great pressure to, to take and/or for people to escape to the United States.”
To Biden then, and by the available evidence today, Haiti is a containment problem. Reinstating democracy was/is not sufficiently in the US interest to expend much in the way of resources; containing people fleeing violence and instability and sending them back was/is in the US interest.
Biden is free to prove us wrong. Until he changes course, however, this administration is proving to be as cruel as Trump in terms of the impact of its policies (even as he tries to package things in a more comforting discourse).
For Haitians, however, Biden is worse!
Contact your members of Congress and push them to speak out against this policy. We have prepared a message you can send here. Time permitting, take the extra step of calling your members of Congress, House and Senate, and ask them to publicly oppose these removals.