UPDATE: The DC Attorney General's office, whose funding is separate from that of the mayor's office, has announced a grant program of $150,000 to aid nonprofits leading the welcoming response. We welcome this news, but unfortunately this level of funding is still woefully inadequate to meet the needs of mutual aid groups.
The bridge across all of our programs is the desire to change United States policies that impact the people we work with. Extreme poverty and vulnerability in Haiti and Nicaragua lead families to make the heartbreaking decision to migrate, to the United States or elsewhere. Our priority is addressing the root causes of migration in Haiti and Nicaragua. At the same time, we believe that we must insist on fair policies in the United States that promote the dignity of migrants. Current priorities:
End Title 42 and Remain in Mexico, and secure asylum once again at our borders
Work in solidarity with migrants traveling in Central America and Mexico
Bring a social justice framework to the United States’ policies that impact our partners in Haiti and Nicaragua, with an emphasis on non-intervention.
Haitian migrants were expelled at much higher rates than the nationals of other countries similarly situated during the twenty-seven months since Title 42 policies were first implemented. Haitians were at least 3X more likely to be expelled compared to nationals of almost all other countries, except for those who could, by agreement between the United States and Mexico, be expelled directly into Mexico. This pattern changed in June of this year, with a significant drop in the percentage of Haitians encountered being expelled, a trend that seems to be continuing into July.
Acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry and his “September 11th” coalition met with representatives of the Montana Accord last week to discuss how to end the country's political stalemate. The Montana Accord is a civil society-led transition proposal negotiated last year at the Montana Hotel that hundreds of national and local organizations have endorsed. A coalition of political parties referred to as the PEN joined the Montana group earlier this year. Close allies of Henry quickly assembled his September 11th coalition last year after the Montana proposal was announced.
One year ago today Haiti's acting president, Jovenal Moïse, was assassinated in his own home. A group of two-dozen mercernaries, most apparently hired from Colombia, were arrested in the days following Moïse's murder, but the story of who was ultimately behind the plot to kill Moïse continues to unfold.
There has been a brief, no doubt temporary, respite from the expulsion of people back to Haiti under Title 42 this week.
Quixote Center Denounces Preliminary Injunction on Title 42; Continues Call for Restoration of Asylum
Washington D.C.—Today a federal court in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction against the Biden administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's decision to end Title 42. This decision means that the United States Border Patrol is required to continue to expel migrants immediately upon encounter, thus, denying refugees access to asylum or other humanitarian relief.
At 6 AM on a Wednesday, I joined community organizers and volunteers outside Union Station to greet migrants bused from the US-Mexico border to Washington DC. I expected everyone to arrive haggard and exhausted, as I feel after just a few hours on a bus. Instead, they came bright-faced and smiling, exuberant to have arrived.
[Warning: This post contains descriptions of extreme violence]
Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement on March 17, that read, “Armed violence has reached unimaginable and intolerable levels in Haiti…It is crucial for urgent steps to be taken to restore the rule of law, to protect people from armed violence and to hold to account the political and economic sponsors of these gangs.”
The statement offered the following account of recent violence:
The Biden Administration expelled 450 people to Haiti, including 44 children, 20 of whom were infants, on three flights this week. These flights bring the total to 235 expulsion flights to Haiti since Biden took office, more than 23,000 people in total, and 21,000 in the eight months since the debacle in Del Rio last September. Another 8,000 people were summarily expelled into Mexico during the Del Rio crisis.
As we've been discussing now for a few weeks, the Biden Administration decided to bring enforcement of Title 42 policies, which enable the US government to expel asylum-seekers without allowing them to apply for asylum, to a close on May 23. The announcement has led to a political backlash from Republicans and even many Democrats. As a result, several GOP attorneys-general sued the Biden administration for ending Title 42 too quickly.
Texas' governor Greg Abbot is putting immigrants on buses to Washington, D.C., apparently as some kind of protest related to the Biden administration's decision to end Title 42. The first bus arrived on Wednesday, April 13, but not at Homeland Security, Congress or the White House. Rather, the bus arrived in front of a building on Capitol Hill that houses several television networks' newsrooms, including Fox.
“Expelling asylum seekers under Title 42 has not done anything to protect us from COVID” From the Congressional Testimony of Dr. Adam Richards, Physicians for Human Rights
Title 42 appears to be on its way out. After two years and 1.8 million expulsions, impacting well over 1 million people, Biden announced, and the CDC confirmed, that Title 42 would end on May 23, 2022.