US Treatment of Haitian Refugees Shameful

Statement by Johanna Chao Kreilick, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Sep 29, 2021

Disturbing footage of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback blocking Haitian refugees from crossing the Rio Grande has sparked outrage and a backlash against U.S. policy. Many people in the United States also are concerned about the prospects for the Haitian refugees who the United States flew back to their home country, with the U.S. special envoy for Haiti resigning in protest.

Below is a statement by Johanna Chao Kreilick, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Seeing families trying to ford the river, desperately trying to find a place to live safely and support their children, only to be treated like cattle, is heart breaking, inhumane and just plain wrong.

“It’s also unconscionable that the Biden administration is continuing to follow the Trump playbook by deporting many refugees without an opportunity to seek asylum.

“Despite the administration halting Border Patrol agents’ use of horses in Del Rio, we fear this is a cosmetic measure that will not necessarily lead to accountability.

“The United States needs to take a hard look at its treatment of all refugees and do better. The United States must treat everyone with dignity, and due process must be afforded to all people.

“Eighteen attorneys general rightly criticized President Biden, in a letter, for continuing to use the pandemic-related authority instituted by President Trump to send the Haitian refugees back to their home country, pointing out that Haiti is facing ‘one of the worst series of crises in its history’ and it’s within the president’s power to ensure each refugee’s case is fairly assessed.

“As a country and as a people, we need humane immigration and refugee policy.”