Ninaj Raoul, executive director of Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, told Atlanta Black Star that the U.S. has vacillated between automatically detaining and deporting Haitian refugees on the one hand, and temporarily ceasing their removal due to earthquakes and hurricanes in recent years on the other. Now, the tide has shifted once again amid an increase in Haitian refugees crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
As the crisis of Haitan migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border grows, US Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke has urged the Obama administration to immediately halt the deportation of undocumented Haitians and called for community based alternatives to immigrant detention. Herself a the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, Clarke has been a leading voice in Congress on issues impacting Black immigrants. Since the Department of Homeland Security resumed deportations to Haiti on September 22, in response the influx of Haitan refugees at the border, Clarke has been active in speaking out and uniting with colleagues in the House and Senate in calling for a return to humanitarian policies.
“These deportations will return thousands of Haitians to a country that continues to struggle with the devastation of Hurricane Matthew and the recent outbreak of cholera that was introduced by international aid workers responding to the 2010 earthquake,” she shared with Caribbean Life News.
Recently, AP News reported that the Department of Homeland Security has begun to release Haitian migrants because detention centers are full. Representative Clarke is calling on the Administration to find community based alternatives to detention.
“The current standards for detaining immigrants in the United States are unacceptable, threatening individuals who have been detained with isolation from the families and communities, the risk of physical and emotional harm, and even death,” she said to NY Carib News.
Leaders such as Yvette Clarke are needed in the fight for human rights and dignity for displaced Black immigrants in crisis.