by Celucien L. Joseph, PhD
Samedi 11 juin 2022 ((rezonodwes.com))–
The ongoing gang violence, street kidnappings, and insecurity that have now become, for many people and human rights groups, a humanitarian crisis in Haiti. While the US Ambassador in Haiti and the Federal government publicly acknowledged the current predicament in Haiti, especially in Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince, the US Federal government and the US immigration services continue to deport Haitians to Haiti almost every week and month, as reported by many news outlets in Haiti and US news channels, correspondingly.
More than 20, 000 Haitians have been deported to their native land since President Biden took office. This is unacceptable because such intervention from the US government is not effective, and it is not contributing to the common good and human flourishing in Haiti. It categorically denies Haitians the right and opportunity to seek refuge or asylum in the states.
Also, such action on the part of the US government does not demonstrate any acts of compassion or empathy toward the Haitians who have fled Haiti because of political persecution, political crisis, and the current humanitarian crisis in Haiti. The Haitian people and their allies are asking for a fair treatment of undocumented Haitians in the United States and are asking the Federal government and the US Citizenship and Immigration services to STOP the deportation of Haitians.
We are asking the Federal government and the US Immigration services to treat Haitians with dignity and to allow them to stay in the United States while the Haitian government and its allies are working diligently to reestablish political stability, peace, and put an end to gang violence and street kidnapping in the country.
As reported by many news outlets, at least five major areas in the capital city and elsewhere in Haiti have fallen (almost) completely into the hands of gangs, including popular neighborhoods such as Martissant, Cite de Dieu, Croix-des-Bouquets, Butte Boyer, Croix-des-Missions, Marecage, Mapou neighborhood, and some areas in Torcelle, and more recently La Plaine. Many people had to evacuate and left their homes. Gangs took over their homes. Schools and businesses in some of those areas remain closed.
Some people describe the human condition in those places as « living in hell, » and that « our children have no future in Haiti. » Others have even called it “a war on poor Haitians.” As a result, many Haitians have fled the country and arrived in the shores of Miami by boat; unfortunately, before they are granted an opportunity to become “asylum seekers,” or receive a fair trial before a US immigration judge, they are automatically sent back to Haiti the moment they arrived in Florida or elsewhere in the country.
Further, according to a recent article published in Miami Herald, « Since June, armed groups have forced the displacement of over 20,000 Haitians from their homes in Martissant and surrounding communities. » Now, more people have been displaced because of the increasing escalation of gang violence.
On June 9, 2022, The New York Times published an article (“U.S. Accelerated Expulsions of Haitian Migrants in May”) reporting that « Since September, more than 25,000 Haitians have been expelled from the United States and returned to Haiti. There does not appear to be an end in sight. Recently, anticipating a change in border policy that has been put on hold, more Haitians have waited in northern Mexico with plans to cross the border and ask for asylum — a legal right that has been blocked since the beginning of the pandemic.”
The same essay indicates that “In September, about 15,000 migrants, many of them Haitian, crossed the border into Del Rio, Texas, over the course of a few days. That month, the United States sent a record 58 expulsion flights to Haiti, according to data collected by the International Organization for Migration, which tracks the flights.” Here are some sources about this dire situation in Haiti:
1. « 20 dead, thousands flee their homes as gangs battle in Haiti, » https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-04-28/20-dead-thousands-flee-homes-as-gangs-battle-in-haiti
2. « Chaos, gang violence again erupts in Haiti. Even human rights advocates are targets, » https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/haiti/article260775917.html#storylink=cpy
5. « The war between 400 Mawozo and Chen Mechan, a humanitarian and heritage disaster, » https://ayibopost.com/la-guerre-entre-400-mawozo-et-chen-mechan-une-catastrophe-humanitaire-et-patrimoniale/
6. “U.S. Accelerated Expulsions of Haitian Migrants in May,” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/09/us/politics/haiti-migrants-biden.html?fbclid=IwAR25NKS-tW8txCcRtd5K1-OQJ161-JrHCnQmcpkamR_i2wf_3v6e60sOKJI
We are calling upon humanitarian groups, human rights groups, friends of refugees, and friends of Haitians to come together to demand justice and a fair treatment for undocumented Haitians in the US and to stop deporting Haitians who are leaving Haiti because of political persecution, gang violence, and the humanitarian crisis in their country. This is not a moment to remain silent and be passive; let’s join forces to stop the deportation of Haitians.
About the author
Celucien L. Joseph, PhD, is Associate Professor of English at Indian River State College. His most recent books include Between Two Worlds: Jean Price-Mars, Haiti, and Africa (2018) and Revolutionary Change and Democratic Religion: Christianity, Vodou, and Secularism (2020). He is the Board Secretary of the Haitian Studies Association.