(Felix Marquez/Associated Press)
Images and videos of the treatment of Haitian immigrants have been circulating the internet, bringing more attention to what is going on at the Texas-Mexico border. I have some strong opinions on the issue.
With thousands of Haitians being displaced from their homes due to recent earthquakes, economic struggles caused by COVID-19, and the assassination of Haitian President Jovenal Moise in July, they have been scrambling to find refuge elsewhere. In their search for asylum in the United States, they have been met with inhumane treatment at the Texas-Mexico border. The media displays images of Haitians being whipped, assaulted, and expelled. These pictures have been called “horrific” by government officials and civilians alike.
When talking about this situation, one has to remember that we are still in a global pandemic. That makes it much harder for us to accept a large influx of immigrants, and I understand that. It just feels like the U.S. is using excuses for why none of these immigrants can enter the country. Not only are we turning hopeless immigrants away, but we are treating them as less than human. A lot of this seems over the top and unnecessary. It does not help that the images and videos circulating are eerily similar to something you would see in the 1800s during slavery.
I also find it interesting how the country allows some Afghanistan immigrants to enter the country and the United States Border Patrol is not treating them the same way as the Haitians. It leads me to wonder how much of this is a race issue and how much is a migrant issue.
One of the biggest topics of the past administration was immigration or the lack thereof. According to Olga Byrne, the immigration director at the International Rescue Committee, Title 42 is a “clause of the 1944 Public Health Services Law that allows the government to prevent the introduction of individuals during certain public health emergencies.”
An interpretation of this law has been used to turn away immigrants at the border throughout the pandemic. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection data, this number has reached 938,045 from October 2020 to August 2021.
Many government officials and advocates have criticized the application of the law, but the current administration has stood by it. One of the reasons for this criticism is the expulsion without due process. As I stated earlier, America is the land of opportunity for a reason. Immigrants from all walks of life have come to this country for a better life, and in this situation, we are turning them away. I would love to say it has been fair, but that would be a lie.
I believe that these are people whose lives have been destroyed and are asking for help. They have more than enough reasons to do so. In a crisis-stricken country where they are not getting aid, what else are they supposed to do? We are not talking about people who can do things that are just too lazy to do them. Many of them have traveled from Chile through most of South America. These people are desperate and have gone through a dangerous journey.
Haitian people are being shipped back to their country and forced to endure kidnapping, gang violence, slow recovery from natural disasters, and everything they tried to escape from. I know it is not feasible to accept all of them into the country, but I believe we should at least allow them to seek asylum. America is not doing that, and even worse, the Border Patrol is treating them inhumanely.
I believe in everyone’s right to be treated fairly and equally. The treatment of these Haitian people is unacceptable, and it is up to our administration to come up with a solution. At the very least, we can give them an opportunity to asylum before turning them away. We also must start treating them like actual people. What is going on right now is embarrassing, but even more than that, it is unacceptable in a nation that values opportunity, equality, and freedom.