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Humanitarian Crisis and Anti-Blackness at the Border

CURE Condemns Racist Treatment of Haitian and Black Asylum Seekers at the US-Mexico Border

September 22, 2021 – The Center for Urban and Racial Equity condemns the racist and dehumanizing treatment of Haitian asylum seekers by the Biden administration. The verbal abuse and physical assault by U.S. Border Patrol officers of Black immigrants seeking refuge from political upheaval and natural disasters is consistent with a long history of xenophobic, anti-Black immigration policies toward Haitian immigrants. The Biden administration’s decision to conduct mass deportations of asylum seekers without due process based on the Trump-era use of Title 42, (and to defend its use after a judge ordered a stop to the practice last week), is a blatant failure of the administration to live up to its pledge to make immigration more humane. As such, the Biden administration betrays its wider commitment to making racial equity a core pillar of their policies and decision-making. 

Under Title 42, the Biden administration is using the COVID-19 pandemic to justify these deportations and violate the human rights of asylum seekers. The policy has its roots in white nationalist efforts under the Trump administration to restrict immigration among Black and brown people at the border.

“This is not the first time that public health justifications have been used to restrict immigration from the Caribbean, Latin America and African nations,” says CURE president Dr. Judy Lubin. “Haitians were wrongly singled out as carriers of HIV in the 1980s by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when little was understood about the emerging pandemic, and that profoundly shaped immigration policy for decades. As a Haitian American that grew up in the 80s and 90s seeing Haitians migrants seeking safety and a chance at a better life automatically repatriated or ushered into detention centers in Miami, this week’s events have been a heartbreaking reminder of how immigration policies are used to perpetuate white supremacy, control access to material resources for survival, and reinforce ideas of who belong and which lives matter in America.”

According to RAICES, Haitian families made up 44% of the families detained at Karnes County Residential Center in 2020. This statistic is compounded by what RAICES has identified as higher rates of detention, deportation, and bond values enacted against Black immigrants, especially Haitians. 

We join in solidarity with Haitian-led, immigration, civil, and human rights organizations calling on the Biden administration to: stop the deportations, revoke the Title 42 order, conduct a full investigation into the actions of U.S. Border Patrol, and hold participating actors accountable for abuses at the border. Finally, CURE demands a full assessment of how U.S. immigration policies can be re-imagined thorugh an anti-racist lens that honors the humanity and dignity of all regardless of race or country of origin.

To support humanitarian efforts on the southern border, please donate to Haitian Bridge Alliance: For background on the crisis on the border and actions you can take, please visit the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)’s resources page for the “Haitian & Black Immigrants U.S.-Mexico Border Crisis” Rapid Response Toolkit. 


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