Editorial

EDITORIAL: Who’s to Blame for Mistreatment of Haitians? The List is Long

After more than a week of public outcry and finger-pointing from all sorts of people provided with a platform, the 15,000 migrants once relegated to inhumane conditions at a border camp in Del Rio, Texas, have finally been sent to other cities in the U.S., to unspecified locations in Mexico or back to Haiti.

But it’s going to take more time for many of us to forget the disturbing images of Haitians being chased down and threatened with lassos by Border Patrol agents riding horseback.

It’s also going to be tough to quickly forget the clearly squalid conditions which those migrants faced – an inadequate supply of clean water and food and the absence of toilets forcing them to use nearby streams as an unlikely and unacceptable substitute.

And while President Biden has vowed that those responsible will be held accountable, it seems fairly obvious that there are a lot of people who must accept part of the blame for what transpired including the president himself and the members of the House and Senate, political party notwithstanding.

There’s just no excuse for America to still lack a clear and reasonably just immigration policy that is applied to everyone who approaches our borders and who seeks asylum. Color should not matter. Nation of origin should not matter. Nor should either their achieved level of education or their previous employment have anything to do with those who seek shelter on our shores serve as a factor for whether they will be allowed to resettle in the U.S.

But given the difference between how America has opened its arms to those from Afghanistan while both recently and historically refusing Haitians the same kind of carte blanche remains disturbing.

Does anyone remember the song that began, “give us your tired and your poor?” It was once a theme song for the U.S. which touted our immigration policies. It could be heard drifting over the Statue of Liberty – the first thing that scores of European immigrants saw as they arrived by the boatloads on Ellis Island.

Now, about 100 years later, America opens its borders but with more restrictions and conditions. Maybe, we’re no longer that port of safety and opportunity for the downtrodden that we once so gloriously professed to be.

If that is true, we should just send a memo, accept our own hypocrisy which now more accurately defines who we are and how we operate and stop the pretending.

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