While some Americans celebrated the victory of the U.S. Supreme Court siding with the Biden administration to end Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, Haitians and other Black migrants are still experiencing racism and discrimination under the guise of public health.
Two years into the pandemic, Title 42, an expulsion policy put into effect to stop migrants from entering the country due to the risk of COVID-19, is still being used by Customs and Border Patrol agents at the border.
While a federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s request to end the policy in May, immigration advocates emphasize its negative impact on most Black migrants seeking asylum.
For context, the Biden administration has used Title 42, a public health policy, to expel thousands of migrants from Haiti, Mexico, and Central America. But the system simultaneously welcomes thousands of Ukrainian migrants into the U.S. daily who are also seeking asylum.
Immigrant advocacy groups held a live space on Thursday for Black migrants and immigration advocates to talk about their firsthand experience with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, racism at the border, and the apparent differences in treatment between white and Black migrants.
Jean, a Haitian migrant who was expelled to Mexico under Title 42, said he’d been stolen from, subjected to unwarranted interrogation and discrimination, and witnessed Haitians being mistreated in Mexican healthcare facilities.
“The Black people, it’s like we don’t have any value when it comes to other nations, so they degrade us a lot,” Jean said. “They ask us what we came to do here. Go back to your country. So we’re always subjected to humiliation.”
In addition to the mistreatment and racism, Emem Maurus, a supervising attorney with the Border Butterflies Project, said the administration has made it incredibly difficult for her client’s cases to be processed.
More specifically, her LGBTQ+ Black clients were even denied medical care despite their HIV-positive status.
“Haitians make up 6 percent of the people crossing the southern border and asking for asylum, and they make up 60 percent of the people expelled,” Maurus said. “That in itself speaks volumes about our care and concern for Black migrants. For Haitian folks that we are sending somewhere we know is incredibly dangerous.”
For example, Maurus said she witnessed a Haitian man pleading his case to a border agent asking for him and his family to be processed into the U.S.
At the same time, Ukrainian migrants walked around him and were processed by agents in under 40 minutes.
“This is a violation of human rights,” Maurus said. “It’s a violation of our principles. Our country has not always done well, but I think it’s more of who we want to be. We are using a rule in an early 1900’s statute to send people to their deaths with absolutely no protection.”
According to advocates, over 26,000 Haitian migrants have been expelled from the U.S. under Title 42 despite Haitian migrants like Jean saying migrants are coming to the borders with masks and advocacy groups are speaking with migrants who say they are ready and willing to get vaccinated if that means staying in the U.S.
“Unfortunately, it’s not a priority for this administration,” Ronald Claude, director of policy and advocacy at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, said. “The anti-Blackness is the story of all of this. This is impacting particularly Black and Brown migrants at the highest rate.”
What was once a Trump-era policy written to dispel migrants in the name of public health is now being championed by Republicans who want to make the temporary public health policy into codified law.
Photo: © Texas Signal Media Company
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.