Gamaliel Statement on the Biden Administration Detainment of Haitian Refugees

The Gamaliel Civil Rights of Immigrants Campaign calls on the Biden administration to immediately cease the unconscionable border detainment and deportation of Haitian immigrants. We demand that ​​President Joseph Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas grant temporary protected status to the immigrants being detained at the Del Rio International Bridge, and to all Haitian immigrants coming to our border as long as their nation’s instability continues.

Earlier this year, Secretary Mayorkas clearly recognized Haiti’s dire circumstances when he said, “Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Gamaliel Network urges the Department of Homeland Security to immediately expand their eighteen-month designation of Haiti for temporary protected status to Haitian immigrants. If the Department fails to act now, then they are responsible for fueling the unlivable conditions of starvation, poverty, violence, and vulnerability to climate crises that continue to oppress the people of Haiti.

Pablo Tapia, the Chair of the Gamaliel Civil Rights of Immigrants Coordinating Committee, states, “It is frankly atrocious that this administration would take such violent action against immigrants, especially after what we saw in previous administrations. The United States has directly contributed to the colonization & instability of Haiti and Latin America that for hundreds of years has deprived them of resources, all while exploiting them for cheap labor. Our country must give these people what they are owed, but instead, as recent video footage has shown, our Border Patrol denies their entry and brutalizes them by horseback. It is dehumanizing, and we will not stand for it.”

This call to action comes as sixteen Gamaliel leaders and organizers join the We Are Home Campaign, FIRM and CASA in Washington, D.C. this week to demand a path to citizenship for essential workers. Now that the Senate parliamentarian has ruled “no” on one approach—the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship in the budget reconciliation process—our elected officials in Washington must move forward with an alternative approach.  We will hold them accountable to use every available option to get it done this year.

We call on our network to contact our congressional representatives and demand their swift action to create a path to citizenship. We also ask that you join us in contacting the Department of Homeland Security at 202-282-8495 to demand asylum status for the Haitian immigrants at our borders.