By Matt Hirsch
The CUNY Haitian Studies Institute (HSI) released a statement last Wednesday, Sept. 22, to express their outrage at “the inhumane treatment of the Haitians at the Texas border.” Recently surfaced photos of Department of Homeland Security border patrol agents running down Haitian migrants on horseback sparked outrage in the institute.
“We demand that the Biden Administration immediately stops the deportations, treats the Haitian men, women, and children seeking refuge with dignity, and grants them humanitarian parole and an opportunity to apply for asylum,” the statement reads. US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the deportations under Title 42, a Trump-era public health policy that calls for the immediate deportation of migrants who cross the border seeking asylum.
However, on Sept. 1, the Columbia Program on Forced Migration and Health published a letter signed by over thirty public health experts denouncing Title 42, calling it, “scientifically baseless and politically motivated.”
“The Haitians at the border are seeking refuge away from Haiti, a country that has been devastated by recent political unrest and natural disasters,” HSI wrote.
The assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in July, and a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August, have left the country in dire need of aid. Ariel Henry, Haiti’s unelected interim leader, said in an interview with CNN that Haiti will welcome deported Haitians who fled the country and that he wants to cooperate with the United States.
The Haitian Studies Institute ended the statement by reiterating their call for the Biden administration to stop deportations and to give them an opportunity to apply for asylum.