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‘Do not show up,’ Biden says to Haitians, others entering US at border

“Do not, do not, just show up at the border,” President Joe Biden said to migrants from Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela during a Jan. 5 press conference at the White House.

Haitians, Nicaraguans and Cubans will be automatically expelled at the United States border, the plan states, while his government puts in place a new program that will allow 30,000 people to apply for entry from their home countries through a humanitarian parole plan. The plan, previously offered to only Venezuelans, drastically decreased the number of Venezuelans at the U.S. southern border, U.S. and Mexican officials said. 

The plan denies asylum to those without family connections in the U.S. or financial sponsorship commitments for two years. Advocates say this is not always possible for people fleeing violence and persecution in their home country and called the plan an expansion of a Trump-era policy that gives border agents the power to turn away Haitians without giving them a chance to seek asylum, while Title 42 also continues on. Title 42 is a pandemic-era federal policy that quickly expels migrants to Mexico.

“The right to seek safety should not be a function of your family’s checkbook.”

Paul Namphy, lead organizer of Family Action Network Movement

“Every day that these policies are in place, people seeking refuge will be turned away to suffer horrific abuses,” advocacy group Human Rights First said.

Paul Namphy, lead organizer of Family Action Network Movement (FANM), told The Haitian Times the border plan is exclusionary. 

“The right to seek safety should not be a function of your family’s checkbook,” Namphy said. “This is the marketplace discriminating against the poor.”

Namphy instead suggests the U.S. should abide by the recommendations of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights. Both have asked the U.S. to institute protection arrangements, such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and also to stop the deportations of Haitians back to Haiti.

Following the human rights crisis in Del Rio, the U.S. the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spent millions of dollars and used the Title 42 policy to expel over 15,000 Haitians, and has continued to do so. 

Mexico agreed to accept up to 30,000 migrants each month from the four countries who attempt to walk or swim across the U.S.-Mexico border and are turned back, the White House said.

Haitians stranded in Mexico face anti-Black discrimination, facing medical neglect and attacks. At least seven Haitians have been murdered in Tijuana this year, The Haitian Bridge Alliance reports.

The Haitian Bridge alliance will analyze the administration’s latest policy plans and offer their recommendations for humanitarian reforms from their experience on the ground Jan. 6, 2023.

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