Photo by Jeffrey Eisen on Unsplash

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Cori Bush (D-MO) led 100 of their colleagues in urging President Biden to reverse inhumane immigration policies, such as Title 42, originally introduced under the Trump Administration, that continue to mistreat and harm Black migrants. The letter comes in the aftermath of disturbing images from September 2021, in which Texas border patrol agents were seen beating and abusing  Haitian migrants entering the United States.

“Our country has a long history of inhumane treatment of Black migrants, which is particularly evident in the historic mistreatment of Haitians,” the lawmakers wrote to President Biden. “In 1981, the United States began interdicting Haitian refugees in the high seas and over the course of the next decade sent some 25,000 asylum seekers back to an island suffering under the rule of brutal U.S.-backed dictatorships. In 1991, the first Bush Administration opened a detention camp in Guantanamo Bay for over 300 HIV-positive Haitian men, women and children, including those who were possibly exposed to HIV/AIDS. This policy was challenged in court and resulted in a settlement requiring the resettlement of those detained in the United States. In 2011, even after Haiti was designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) following a catastrophic earthquake and a massive cholera epidemic, deportations to Haiti continued, leading to at least one death.”

“It is time to undo the United States’ draconian immigration policies, particularly policies introduced under the Trump Administration, such as the use of Title 42, that circumvent our humanitarian obligations,” the lawmakers concluded. “In addition to stopping removals to regions such as Haiti that face serious insecurity, we also urge you to take steps to address the systemic challenges Black migrants face to receiving equal treatment. As a starting point, we recommend the Department of Homeland Security, in concert with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), conduct a wholistic review of the disparate treatment of Black migrants throughout our immigration system, make available to the public the results of this review and take steps to remedy disparities at each step of the immigration enforcement process. It is essential that we recommit ourselves to reversing anti-Black policies, including by adopting a human-rights centered approach to supporting immigrants and people seeking asylum in the United States.”

The letter was co-signed by Senators Schumer (D-NY), Markey (D-MA), Menendez (D-NJ), Warren (D-MA), Padilla (D-CA), Hirono (D-HI), Merkley (D-OR), Wyden (D-OR), Feinstein (D-CA), Sanders (I-VT), Baldwin (D-WI), Cardin (D-MD), and Van Hollen (D-MD).

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