Most of us were shocked and horrified, and the United States was rightly embarrassed, by images of US Border Patrol agents on horseback attacking asylum seekers, including at least one child, in Texas. Fortunately, this situation has been ended and an investigation is ongoing. However, we need more than an investigation: we need to know that such a situation will never happen again.
We also need the United States government to stop violating the most basic human rights by deporting asylum seekers to Haiti. Just one month after a catastrophic 7.2 magnitude earthquake and a destructive tropical storm hit Haiti, and just two months after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse at his home, these deportations are egregious and inhumane. There is no doubt that Haiti is not a safe country at the moment, and that the lives of the people we are deporting will be in grave danger.
The level of suffering in Haiti is difficult to comprehend. That is why so many Haitian families have risked their lives to go out and seek asylum in the United States. Many arrived with young children, desperate for shelter and water, food, protection, medical care and other essentials. It was a treacherous journey for most, and for some it had the most tragic ending possible. Haitian migrants were not greeted with open arms or treated with compassion and respect when they arrived in the United States. We deported them to a country in chaos and they were not even allowed to apply for asylum, which is a right under both US and international law.
Deportations need to be stopped immediately. The Biden administration was right to extend temporary protected status to Haitians living in the United States until early 2023, but deportations of Haitians at the border must also stop. In particular, we must ensure that no child is deported in a context of insecurity such as the current one and that all families seeking asylum can stay together.
There are solutions
Good intentions are not enough. This is a moment of political courage for everyone, from the local community to national leaders, to stand up for immigrants, who make America stronger. We must resist the cynical hate-mongers who stoke anti-immigration sentiment and use this issue to divide us. They do it now and they always have.
You need to stop using the Title 42, a provision of the health law that has been used during the pandemic to deny immigrants the opportunity to seek protection in the United States. Countless public officials, including those of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have said that this policy is unfounded. Instead, public health measures such as testing, quarantine, and vaccination can effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We must apply common sense public health measures and invest in community treatment and legal support. The studies They find that the vast majority of people meet immigration requirements and when they appear in court they are released, especially if they have a lawyer assisting them. The congress [de EEUU] You can meet this need by funding humanitarian and legal assistance. The solutions exist.
We must remember that seeking asylum is a right guaranteed by our laws, and that no one deserves to be punished for seeking protection.
We must free America’s immigration system from the racism that is evident in its treatment of racialized asylum seekers.
We must demand that governments create a just and humane immigration system, which includes a path to citizenship for immigrants, and a safe and fair asylum process for Haitians and all other people seeking refuge in the United States. . We must live up to our civil and human rights commitments as a country.
And above all, we must ensure that the United States finally treats all asylum seekers and all immigrants with compassion, dignity and respect.
* Xochitl Oseguera is vice president of MomsRising and the Spanish community, MamásConPoder
Translated by Emma Reverter