Brooklyn’s Haitian Leaders Denounce Deportation of Migrants at Texas Border

Haitian Activists
Local electeds and activisits gather outside Brooklyn Borough Hall to decry the deportation of Haitians on the American-Mexican border. Photo by Stephen Witt

Elected officials including Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (D-Brooklyn), who also serves as the Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair, and Council Members Matthieu Eugene (D-Brooklyn) and Farah N. Louis (D-Brooklyn), Haitian-American organizational leaders, activists and clergy, rallied outside Brooklyn Borough Hall, Tuesday, Sept. 21 to denounce the mass deportation of Haitian migrants from the Texas border.

Currently, the Biden Administration is deporting thousands of Haitians that have gathered in Del Rio on the Texas side of the Mexican border seeking to get into the country back to Haiti. This despite almost all of these Haitian refugees has migrated from South American countries where they have lived for a number of years.

“Heart-wrenching scenes from the Texas border have perturbed citizens of the world,” said Bichotte Hermelyn. “America is a country built upon immigrant’s dreams, grit, and hard work. It is with urgency that I beg the Biden administration to find the compassion to allow the Haitian families and children in Del Rio to stay.  I decry the actions of border patrol agents, whose use of force against migrants reflects a narrative not seen since colonial times.”

Bichotte Hermelyn and other local Haitian advocates said at the very least these Haitian refugees should be granted a due process hearing to see if they would meet the requirements for entry into the United States.

“We are all concerned about the treatment of our Haitian brothers and sisters  who have crossed the border into Texas. Their ordeal represents a humanitarian crisis, and we stand together in solidarity with them,” said Eugene. “The United States has a moral obligation to protect these immigrants, and we demand that they receive due process upon their arrival and are not deported back to Haiti.”

Louis said the gathering in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall was to make it clear that the Caribbean community will persist until these deportations cease and Haitian migrants are given the same opportunity to seek asylum like so many others who arrived here before them.

“I am absolutely disgusted with the Biden Administration and the inhumane treatment of our Haitian sisters and brothers in Del Rio, Texas. The U.S. is supposed to lead by example, extending compassion and treating human beings with dignity and respect. Instead, we have seen an expeditious expulsion, which contradicts the Administration’s recognition of the ongoing political and health crises in Haiti within the last two months that have caused thousands to seek refuge elsewhere,” said Louis.

“The suppression of Black people, partially from the Caribbean or West Indies, despite our contributions through public service, local economy, and cultural footprint throughout this nation’s history speaks volumes,” she added. 

In Washington D.C., Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer also condemned these deportations on the floor of the U.S. Senate while Garrett Armwood, his Deputy State Director, appeared at the Brooklyn rally to reaffirm his remarks.

“We’ve all seen these horrible images coming from our southern border as Haitian asylum-seekers—simply looking to escape tyranny and the problems that they have in their country—have been met at our doorstep with unimaginable indignity,” said Schumer on the Senate floor.

“Right now, I am told there are four flights scheduled to deport these asylum seekers back to a country that cannot receive them. Such a decision defies common sense. It also defies common decency and what America is all about. Remember that harbor—that Lady in the harbor in the city in which I live,” the lawmaker added.

Schumer urged President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to immediately put a stop to these expulsions.

“We cannot continue these hateful and xenophobic Trump policies that disregard our refugee laws. We must allow asylum seekers to present their claims at our ports of entry and be afforded due process,” said Schumer.