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A young Haitian migrant stands in a crowd in Port-au-Prince following his deportation from the US

A young man arrives at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on September 19, 2021, after the U.S. government expelled him and hundreds of other Haitians following a harrowing journey to the United States. (Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images)

Haiti Official Demands 'Humanitarian Moratorium' as US Ramps Up Deportations

The administration's rapid removal of refugees and migrants was denounced as "reprehensible" and "cruel."

Julia Conley

With Haiti still reeling from the effects of last month's earthquake and the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse earlier this year, officials in the Caribbean nation on Monday demanded the Biden administration halt the ramped up expulsions of Haitian nationals seeking refuge in the U.S., an estimated 14,000 of whom are expected to be deported from Texas in the coming weeks.
 
"I am asking for a humanitarian moratorium,” Jean Negot Bonheur Delva, the head of Haiti's national migration office, told the New York Times after hundreds were deported to Haiti over the weekend. "The situation is very difficult."

"The speed and scale at which this country has deported Haitians seeking refuge from utter turmoil is reprehensible and anti-black... This is cruel."
—New York state Sen. Zellnor Myrie

 
As Common Dreams reported last week, human rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers have also decried the expulsions of Haitian people who are currently staying in a makeshift encampment in Del Rio, Texas—many after having made an arduous journey from South America.
 
The Biden administration launched the deportations of the migrants under Title 42, a section of the Public Health Safety Act which former President Donald Trump invoked during the pandemic to quickly expel asylum seekers from the country. President Joe Biden has drawn international condemnation from continuing the policy.
 
According to the Times, several migrants told Haitian migration officials upon arriving in Haiti that they had been handcuffed on the flights and that U.S. authorities had lied to them about their destination, claiming that they were being sent to Florida.
 
Without a moratorium, Haitian officials are expecting to accept six flights per day with deported migrants, many of whom have not lived in Haiti in years, over the next three weeks.
 
The deportations come a month after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the country, leaving about 650,000 Haitians still relying on emergency humanitarian assistance.
 
As Claire Bazille, who was deported over the weekend, told the Times, her family in Haiti has been left unhoused following the disaster.
 
"I don't know how I will survive," Bazille, who left Haiti for Chile in 2015 before seeking better employment prospects in the U.S. this year, told the Times.
 
In addition to the aftermath of the earthquake, Haiti is facing an ongoing political crisis following Moïse's assassination in July, with the country lacking a sitting parliament for several months and authorities "struggling to keep gangs in check," as Deutsche Welle reported over the weekend:
 

These criminals have been stealing humanitarian aid designated for victims of the August earthquake, holding up convoys and demanding protection money. Gangs have even fired on freight ships carrying aid and tankers. Port-au-Prince harbor, after all, lies right beside the capital's impoverished and crime-ridden Cite Soleil neighborhood.

The city has faced fuel shortages, and gas stations have been forced to close. At night, power shortages plunge Port-au-Prince into darkness.

Officials are "here to say welcome" to the deported migrants, Bonheur Delva told the Times. "They can come back and stay in Haiti—but they are very agitated. They don't accept the forced return."

According to Bonheur Delva, the government is prepared to give each migrant the equivalent of $100 but will be unable to resettle them due to “ongoing security issues."

"The speed and scale at which this country has deported Haitians seeking refuge from utter turmoil is reprehensible and anti-black," tweeted New York state Sen. Zellnor Myrie on Sunday. "This is cruel."


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