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Rush Calls on Biden Administration to Immediately Halt Haiti Deportations, Joins House Haiti Caucus

September 20, 2021

Over the weekend, the Biden Administration began deportation flights for thousands of Haitian migrants fleeing the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and political crisis

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) called on the Biden Administration to immediately halt its deportations of Haitian migrants from the   U.S.Mexico border. Rep. Rush also announced that he has joined the recently-formed House Haiti Caucus. Earlier today, photos surfaced appearing to show Border Patrol agents in Texas using whips on migrants.

Haiti is facing compounding environmental and political crises, resulting in a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. Thousands of residents have fled Haiti in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake on August 14, and in recent days, more than 15,000 predominantly Haitian migrants converged near a border bridge in Del Rio, Texas. Over the weekend, the Biden Administration resumed repatriation flights to Haiti and plans to send six flights of migrants a day back to Haiti for the next three weeks. Some of these migrants fled Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and have not lived in the country in many years. Many migrants had their homes destroyed in the recent earthquakes and have nothing to go back to.

“The sheer cruelty of these deportations is heartbreaking, mind-boggling, and wholly unacceptable. The harrowing images of Border Patrol agents rounding up Haitian migrants evoke some of the cruelest days in our nation’s history. This treatment is outrageous and unconscionable,” said Rep. Rush.

“The United States has a responsibility to our Haitian neighbors to not turn our backs in this time of immense need, as they face the devastating aftermath of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and political unrest.  It is glaringly obvious that sending thousands of migrants who are seeking help at our doorstep back to Haiti at this time is not only dangerous — it is morally reprehensible. Some migrants facing looming deportation have not lived in Haiti in years. Many do not have homes to return to. As my late colleague Elijah Cummings would often say, ‘we are better than this.’”

“I expect and demand more from the Biden Administration than this heartless and ill-considered action,” Rush continued. “I call on the Biden Administration to immediately halt deportations of Haitian migrants and to release Haitians who have been detained.”

“I am also pleased to announce that I have joined the recently-formed House Haiti Caucus, and I join my colleagues in that Caucus in calling on the Biden Administration to update the eligibility cutoff date for Haitian migrants to receive Temporary Protected Status to August 14 or later, provide humanitarian parole for Haitians arriving at the United States–Mexico border, reinstate the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, and scale up COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Haiti.”

On August 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing at least 2,248 people, injuring more than 12,700, and destroying nearly 137,600 homes. According to a September 10 report from USAID, 650,000 people in Haiti still require humanitarian assistance. Prior to this devastating earthquake and subsequent tropical storms, more than one-third of Haitians — some 4.1 million people — lived with food insecurity. The country also continues to face political instability following the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

The House Haiti Caucus is co-chaired by Reps. Val Demings (D-Fla.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), and Andy Levin (D-Mich.).

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