Videos and photos of U.S. Border Patrol officers wielding whips and lassos in attempts to capture Haitian migrants entering the U.S. near the Texas border are disheartening. The U.S. government egregiously separated children from their parents but nothing else compares to the horrific treatment seen meted out against Haitians.
Sadly, Haitians experienced devastating catastrophes over the past few months, including an Aug. 14 earthquake that killed nearly 2,000 people and left an estimated 50,000 people homeless. Days later, Tropical Storm Grace hit the country and exacerbated earthquake recovery efforts. The Caribbean Island was still reeling from the impact of an earthquake in 2010 that killed more than 200,000 people. In June, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated allegedly by a group of foreign mercenaries. The country was void of leadership until July, when the government appointed a prime minister to help bring order back to the fragile nation.
But it’s the 13,000 or so Haitian migrants that left the country nearly a decade ago who now find themselves living under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, and facing deportation back to a country many of them haven’t known. They’ve been living in South America in places like Brazil, Chile and Argentina, drawn there for work and other opportunities. And, while the U.S. has opened its doors to thousands of Afghan refugees, Haitians are finding doors closed to them, just as it was for the “Haitian Boat People” who came by the thousands to the U.S. by way of Florida in the late 1970s, only to be sent back, as well.
Civil and human rights organizations have weighed in on the current dilemma and echo the sentiments of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. They are calling for an investigation into the conduct of the U.S. Border Patrol. Meanwhile, Haitians are being loaded onto planes headed back to Haiti as the U.S. Congress works to figure out how to avert a financial crisis here at home that could lead to a government shutdown in just a few weeks.
Meanwhile, four Republicans could think of nothing better to do than to call for the impeachment of President Biden.
While the U.S. faces its own set of severe problems, the mistreatment of people is an intolerable offense that must be addressed.