The Biden Administration is deporting refugees to Haiti in an airlift where many are being held in chains, some of those arriving in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince have told reporters. Multiple Haitian refugees described having been deported by plane by Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to Haiti in chains. One refugee stated, “They chained me like a slave.”
Refugees, many of whom have not set foot in Haiti in decades, are left with little more than the shirts on their backs after leaving the airport. No provision for housing has been provided, leaving many with the immediate prospect of homelessness and poverty in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Haiti has been beset by a stream of crises. A devastating earthquake killed more than 2,200, destroying or damaging more than 137,000 homes and 212,000 people having lost access to safe drinking water, with half of those in need still awaiting aid, according to the United Nations. This is in addition to the coronavirus pandemic, a presidential assassination and extreme poverty, as well as a general disintegration of society with widespread crime where much of the country is essentially run by crime lords. The ongoing repression of Haitian immigrants is so ferocious and the conditions to which they are forced to return so terrible that Biden’s own special envoy to Haiti resigned in protest. Daniel Foote resigned in protest of migrant expulsions, calling it “inhumane.”
He wrote, “I will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs to daily life,” calling the US approach to Haiti “deeply flawed.”
Given the standards of the State Department, whi-ch routinely apologizes for barbaric regimes like those of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Thailand, it is remarkable that the Biden administration policy is so brazenly cruel and antidemocratic that an American diplomat feels compelled to object.
It was also revealed Thursday that Biden’s DHS is currently seeking a contractor to operate a concentration camp for refugees in Guantanamo Bay. The contract requires at least ten percent of the guards to speak Spanish and Haitian Creole, according to government records. The concentration camp’s contract solicitation states, “The service provider shall be responsible to maintain on site the necessary equipment to erect temporary housing facilities for populations that exceed 120 and up to 400 migrants in a surge event”
As many as 12,000 Haitians were sent to Guantanamo Bay between 1991 and 1993 by the George H. W. Bush administration. This was following the US-backed military coup of September 30, 1991, which resulted in military rule until 1994, as well as the subsequent murder of 3,000 Haitian political activists between 1991 and 1993.
The White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki, as well as the DHS, claimed that Haitian immigrants would not be sent from the southern US border to the camp, and that it was for immigrants detained at sea.
A DHS spokeswoman claimed that the camp at Guantanamo is a separate facility from that housing supposed terrorists, and it is maintained to house people fleeing the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba in small boats that are intercepted by the US Navy. She added that the contract was a “routine renewal” posted last week and had no connection to the border crisis at Del Rio, Texas.
The ongoing Border Patrol operation at Del Rio has provoked widespread protests after agents were photographed on horseback in the Rio Grande, whipping and herding migrants as they sought to cross the river. The Biden administration’s response was to suspend the use of horses, as though brutality and violence dealt out on foot was acceptable. There are several reports of Haitian refugees rebelling against the illegal and clearly fascistic attempts by the US government to expel them. Along the border, Haitian migrants in custody hijacked multiple buses attempting to displace or deport refugees from the Del Rio camp, forcing out drivers in incidents that threatened to disrupt the deportations.
Both the rebellions and the alleged release of Haitians in Texas—rather than their deportation—have been widely reported in the right-wing, pro-Trump media, such as Fox News and the Washington Examiner, which are seeking to discredit the Biden administration as too soft, and to justify in advance the use of deadly force by the Border Patrol or the Texas state police. The Washington Examiner quoted a “senior administration official” declaring, “They’ve been basically overpowering the drivers and they’ve actually hijacked a couple of the buses and driven them down the road a little ways and escaped. This happened multiple times.” The official complained about the lack of chaining of refugees, who are protected under international law: “They’re moving the detainees, but they’re not shackled—they’re not restrained in any way. Yesterday some detainees kicked a window out and 22 escaped,” referring to an incident on Monday.
A bus to San Antonio, Texas was taken over by migrants, who broke out of the bus and escaped. The refugees were later recaptured by law enforcement.
The camp in Del Rio, Texas once comprised 15,000 Haitian refugees from the Americas who gathered under an overpass after crossing the US-Mexico border over the course of a few days. Biden’s DHS has already deported or moved to detention camps a total of 4,000 refugees, it claims, while an estimated 4,000 remain at the overpass.
There has been no explanation of where the remaining 5,000 to 7,000 refugees have gone, whether back to Mexico, released into Texas or “disappeared” into the vast gulag of US immigration detention facilities.
United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi and 38 American civil rights groups have called on Biden to stop deportations. Grandi urged the United States to lift its Title 42 health-related restrictions, which were used by the Donald Trump and extended by the Biden administration to deport immigrants, stating they “deny most people arriving at the southwest US land border any opportunity to request asylum.” He continued, “The su-mmary, mass expulsions of individuals currently underway under the Title 42 authority, without screening for protection needs, is inconsistent with international norms and may constitute refoulement.” According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Under international human rights law, the principle of non-refoulement guarantees that no one should be returned to a country where they would face torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and other irreparable harm. This principle applies to all migrants at all times, irrespective of migration status.”
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday that the public should “expect to see dramatic results within the next 48 to 96 hours” in the coming days on Haitian immigrants, essentially stating that they are going to break up and deport the refugee camp along the border, and that “Our goal is to do so within the next 10 days or nine days.”
When Mayorkas, a former top official in the DHS under the Obama administration, was appointed to head the agency, the identity politics crowd and pseudo-left sang his praises as the first immigrant to oversee the department and as a savior who was to reverse the policies of the previous administration.
Janet Murguía, the president of UnidosUS, a Latino advocacy organization, praised him at the time saying, “After four long, dark years … [and] a general contempt for Latinos from the highest office in the land, Mayorkas’s nomination signals a new day for the Department of Homeland Security and for all our country.” Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES, a nonprofit that provides legal services to low-income immigrants, went even further, stating, “We hope that as the first Latino and someone who has advocated for immigrant rights, [Mayorkas] will change the direction of DHS once and for all.” For all the attempt to push the “systemic racism” narrative down the public’s throat, to blame white people for racism, Biden himself shows the real source of the racism: the capitalist system and the capitalist state, and its ruling parties, both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.