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Black, Hispanic lawmakers call for halt to Haitian deportation flights

Border Report

House Democrats also demand accountability in wake of images of alleged Border Patrol 'violence' against migrants at Del Rio

Haitians deported from the United States recover their belongings on the tarmac of the Toussaint Louverture airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A group of Democratic lawmakers and advocacy organizations are calling for an immediate end to deportation flights of Haitian migrants encamped near Del Rio, Texas.

And they’re demanding accountability from U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback allegedly “effecting violence” on migrants of color along the banks of the Rio Grande.

“I cannot be silent; it turns my stomach in knots. […] I don’t want to see another picture of people being treated like animals just because of crossing the border. U.S. values shouldn’t stop because of the color of your skin,” said U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Michigan.

A United States Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021. (Photo by PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

Lawrence was joined by U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Yvette D. Clarke, D-New York, and others who stood in the rain Wednesday outside the Capitol to weigh in a migrant crisis stemming from the arrival of 14,000 people from Haiti and other countries to Del Rio in search of asylum.

Department of Homeland Security agencies are trying to prevent the arrival of additional migrants, which has led to confrontations such as the one to which the lawmakers referred.

Also, members of the Biden administration say they’re accelerating deportation flights to Haiti and moving thousands of migrants out of Del Rio to other Texas cities for processing. In El Paso, several hundred Haitians have been flown in but reportedly will be deported under the Title 42 public health order.

A bus carrying migrants offloaded from a U.S. Coast Guard airplane leaves the tarmac at El Paso International Airport on Tuesday (Julian Resendiz/Border Report)

But Clarke said that’s just putting the Haitians’ lives in danger.

“Haiti is still reeling from a series of compounding crises,” she said, referring to rising coronavirus rates, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August and the July assassination of President Jovenel Moise. “I am calling for a moratorium on these targeted deportations. Now, more than ever, we must reimagine the immigration system in a humane, just and fair manner.”

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said Title 42 – which justifies the swift expulsion of migrants to stop cross-border spread of COVID-19 – also needs to go.

“Congress needs to extend asylum and bring justice to those who abuse the dignity” of people coming to the U.S. to seek a better life, she said.

Jackson Lee said she’s also in favor of ending Title 42. “Let us create a safe and legal way for families and those who are frightened,” she said. “Let us do the right thing. Suspend the deportations (of Haitians) and put a moratorium on Title 42.”

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