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Advocacy groups pan Biden administration for 'cruel policies' on Haitian migrants

By
Jake Thomas
Migrants cross the Rio Grande river from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, on September 20. A coalition of advocacy groups is calling for the Biden administration to reverse a policy that's expedited the expulsion of migrants from Haiti. File Photo by Allison Dinner/EPA-EFE
Migrants cross the Rio Grande river from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, on September 20. A coalition of advocacy groups is calling for the Biden administration to reverse a policy that's expedited the expulsion of migrants from Haiti. File Photo by Allison Dinner/EPA-EFE

Oct. 14 (UPI) -- An alliance of civil rights and humanitarian organizations is increasing pressure on President Joe Biden to reverse asylum policies that they say are endangering the lives and safety of Haitian migrants.

On Thursday, the Welcome With Dignity Campaign took out a full-page ad in the New York Times directly addressing Biden. The ad called on Biden to reverse a Trump-era policy that ramped up the expulsion of Haitian migrants fleeing their country's economic and political crisis.

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"Your cruel policies have human consequences," reads the ad.

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security increased deportation flights for Haitian migrants in response to a surge at the border in Texas. The department made the move under Title 42, a pandemic health order issued last year. Under the order, the department expelled migrants as a public health precaution without giving them the opportunity to ask for asylum.

RELATED 'We suffered a lot to get here': Haitian migrant's harrowing journey to U.S. border

Last month, the Biden administration, which promised a softer approach on immigration, was harshly criticized in response to widely circulated images and video of agents on horseback charging and herding migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande.

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The Biden administration has expelled 7,500 Haitian migrants "back to danger" since Sept. 19, according to the Welcome With Dignity Campaign. Haiti faces humanitarian challenges from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the country in August and is still grappling with the political turmoil from the assassination of its president.

The Welcome With Dignity Campaign said in the ad there have been 6,356 kidnappings, sexual assaults and other violent attacks against people seeking refugee at the border.

RELATED DHS secretary: Up to 12,000 Haitian migrants released into U.S.

The ad was accompanied by protests in Washington, D.C., as well as at least 11 other cities.

Late last month, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said agents would no longer use horses to deal with migrants at the border and the incident would be investigated. He also said roughly 15,000 migrants had been removed from a makeshift camp in Del Rio, Texas. Up to 12,000 Haitian migrants have been released into the United States, he said in a separate interview with Fox News.

RELATED DHS chief 'horrified' by images of horseback border agents chasing migrants

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