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US pursued ‘Haitian Deterrence Policy’ in Del Rio, lawsuit against Biden alleges

A lawsuit filed in December against President Joe Biden and top Homeland Security (DHS) officials alleges that immigration authorities pursued a “Haitian Deterrence Policy” to deprive asylum seekers of basic rights. 

Plaintiffs in the suit include the nonprofit advocacy group Haitian Bridge Alliance and 10 citizens of Haiti who sought asylum in September 2021. Among other requests, the plaintiffs, some of whom used aliases in the court filing, have asked to be allowed to return to the United States while seeking asylum. They also request an end to Title 42, a policy enforced since March 2020 that restricts migrants’ access to asylum based on public health grounds. 

With regard to Haitians in particular, the suit alleges, Biden administration officials “did not stop” with Title 42. They applied the policy “in a way that subjected Haitian asylum seekers in Del Rio to deplorable conditions while in government custody, was deliberately indifferent to humanitarian concerns, and focused on expelling Haitian asylum seekers as quickly as possible.”

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