As faith leaders and people of faith representing diverse faith communities, we write to you today to express our shock and dismay at the Biden administration’s decision to resume deportation and expulsion flights to Haiti without regard for the human consequences posed to the men, women, and children being deported, or concern for the multiple compounding political and environmental crises impacting the Haitian people. Moreover, we are deeply disturbed by the horrific and inhumane treatment of Haitians seeking refuge at the southern border at the hands of Border Patrol officers.
We call on you to immediately halt deportation flights through a humanitarian moratorium and release Haitians in immigration detention; end Title 42 expulsions and safely resume asylum; ensure that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers responsible for abuses against Haitian migrants are held accountable; and vigorously pursue all administrative actions to protect Haitians from deportation, such as a TPS redesignation or DED, and explore opportunities to utilize humanitarian parole for Haitian arrivals. These are necessary ways that the U.S. can extend a welcome to Haitian immigrants fitting of our values. Relying on inhumane enforcement practices is immoral. We also continue to urge that the administration consider measures to address the factors driving forced displacement of Haitians.
Haitian asylum-seekers are not only pursuing what is their legal right. They are also challenging us all to live in full alignment with our religious and spiritual values, which implore us to welcome the stranger and not to turn our back on those in need. Late last month President Biden stated that “human rights must be at the center of our foreign policy, not the periphery.” Yet the expulsion of Haitian immigrants from the U.S. southern border illustrates just the opposite. We must back up bold statements with actions.
We strongly stand by the words of Haitian Bridge Alliance Executive Director, Guerline Josef, who said,
"We are in utter disbelief that the Biden Administration would deport Haitians now. Hours after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, President Joe Biden released a statement saying that the United States was a 'friend' of Haiti. A 'friend' does not continuously inflict pain on another friend.”
The deportation flights must end; the use of Title 42 to justify those expulsions must end; and the U.S. must renew TPS designation for Haiti to more expansively ensure the safety of those who need it. We honor the determination, dignity, and resilience of Haitians in the camps under the Del Rio bridge who have journeyed to the U.S. border believing in the promise of safety and opportunity. As people of faith we hear the cry of our forsaken and vulnerable neighbors. We urge you to join us.
Read the full letter here.
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