A report from the Associated Press has shown that more that thousands of Haitian migrants have converged under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, a border city that has been drastically changed by the increasing migrant population. The number of Haitian migrants has consistently risen over the last decade as the Caribbean nation has dealt with natural disasters, economic hardships and political strife. Most recently, Haiti endured an earthquake, tropical storm and the assassination of its President within a month. As a result, many people from Haiti are seeking refuge in the U.S. Unfortunately, the process of moving from Haiti to the U.S. is not simple.
In March 2020, former President Donald Trump instituted a pandemic-related mandate that expelled migrants without giving them the opportunity to seek asylum. Months later, President Joe Biden sought to reverse some of the Trump administration's policies that he felt were inhumane or unjust. Most notably, the Biden Administration made an effort to reverse a decision that required asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while they waited for U.S. immigration court hearings. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently reaffirmed a judge's decision to reinstate the Trump-era policy. With that said, the Associated Press reports that it's been difficult to move many migrants down south because Mexican officials have only opened their doors to migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. As a result, many migrants from places like Haiti remain influx.
Despite the uncertainty that exists at the border regarding U.S. immigration policy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has still made efforts to deport Haitian migrants. Earlier this week, activists called out the Biden Administration for sending more than 80 people back to Haiti as the nation grapples with the death of its President and an earthquake that has left thousands dead or injured.
"We are in utter disbelief that the Biden Administration would deport Haitians now. Hours after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, President Joe Biden released a statement saying that the United States was a 'friend' of Haiti. A 'friend' does not continuously inflict pain on another friend," Haitian Bridge Alliance Executive Guerline Jozef told The Hill.
"And yet, today, just one month after this devastating earthquake and storm that resulted in the deaths of over 2,200 Haitians, injured 12,000 people, damaged or destroyed 120,000 homes and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, the Administration sent a plane full of families to Haiti under Title 42, including children under the age of three, without offering them legal protection and the opportunity to file for asylum."
With the threat of deportation looming, many Haitian migrants remain undeterred because they feel they have no other option. As reported by the Associated Press, the number of Haitian migrants stopped while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has only grown in recent months.