USA: border officials must be held accountable over violent conduct toward Haitians
Customs and Border Protection officials’ ‘horrific’ behaviour must be properly investigated
Visceral images of Texas border agents on horseback apparently trying to ‘round up’ migrants have been widely circulated
‘The US government has a moral and legal responsibility to welcome Haitians’ - Paul O’Brien
In response to the mass deportation of Haitian migrants at the US-Mexico border and horrific conduct against asylum-seekers by Customs and Border Protection officials, Paul O’Brien, Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director, said:
“The horrific conduct by CBP in Del Rio, Texas - including officers charging into crowds of Haitian asylum-seekers on horseback, violently dispersing them, taunting them, and forcing them away from safety - is reprehensible, and underscores a deeper problem of systemic and racist treatment against Haitian and other Black migrants in the US and at the southern border.
“Already, thousands of Haitians have been deported under Title 42, despite Haiti still reeling from sociopolitical instability.
“Federal courts have already blocked expulsions of families under Title 42, and human rights, faith and public health groups have called for an immediate end to the expulsions.
“Though reports indicate that some Haitian children and families have been allowed to enter the US, the mass expulsions continue.
“The US government has a moral and legal responsibility to welcome Haitians and all people who have fled their homes in search of safety, and the Biden administration can and must do better.
“Amnesty International USA reiterates its calls on the government to allow access to all asylum-seekers at the US border - regardless of race, ethnicity, age or gender.”
Amnesty is calling on the Biden administration to:
• Stop all deportation flights and expulsions under Title 42 that place Haitian and other Black asylum-seekers in danger if returned to their countries of origin;
• Immediately grant humanitarian parole to Haitian and other asylum-seekers at the US-Mexico border and restore access to asylum for all asylum-seekers - not just families and children - in accordance with international law and regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality;
• End the practice of interdictions, which place Haitian and other asylum-seekers at sea at harm if returned to their homes or held in immigration detention;
• Launch a swift and full independent investigation into the racist conduct and other abuses by CBP officers against asylum-seekers and refugees in Del Rio;
• End the use of arbitrary, mass immigration detention - including phasing out Immigration and Customs Enforcement contracts with private prison companies and county jails;
• Incorporate a presumption of liberty in all custody decisions such that asylum-seekers and immigrants are allowed to live in the US as they navigate the immigration process, with the support of sponsors and community-based non-profit programmes as required.