The Texas GOP sees Haitian migrants in crisis as a political opportunity

“This is not the first time Abbott has sought to falsely portray a group of migrants at the border as a public safety threat in order to rile up anti-immigrant attitudes among his base.

Just in the last few months, he issued an executive order allowing public safety officers to stop and reroute vehicles suspected of transporting migrants with Covid-19, though the measure has been blocked in federal court for now.

He has told Texas child care regulators to revoke the licenses of facilities that house migrant children and state troopers to jail migrants for state crimes, such as trespassing on private property when they cross the border.

And he is trying to finish the wall along the Texas border, pledging a $250 million “down payment” drawn from state disaster relief funds — money that could have gone to the aid of those still recovering from last winter’s storms or struggling under the burden of the pandemic. And he’s crowdfunded almost another $500,000 as of June 23. (Though that’s still a drop in the bucket of what he might need to finish the project, which the federal government estimated could cost as much as $46 million per mile in some sectors of the border.)

He has also played no small part in creating the false perception that migrants crossing the border are the source of his state’s coronavirus surge, which is spreading largely among the unvaccinated and leaving hospitals without enough ICU beds.”

“Despite promises to institute a more humane immigration policy, the Biden administration has clung to pandemic-related border restrictions, known as the Title 42 policy, implemented by the Trump administration last year. Since March 2020,that policy has been used to rapidly expel more than a million migrants, without hearings before an immigration judge. (A federal judge partially blocked the policy, effective September 30, and the Biden administration has appealed that decision.)

Biden is also restarting Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, under which tens of thousands of migrants were forced to wait in Mexico for their court hearings in the US, and he has resumed rapidly deporting families at the US-Mexico border. All the while, his message to migrants has been “don’t come,” even though many of them are fleeing unlivable conditions, not unlike those Afghan refugees are running from — problems ranging from gang violence to climate-related devastation.

Toward Haitians specifically, Biden’s policies have appeared inconsistent. He has allowed more than 100,000 Haitians already living in the US to apply for Temporary Protected Status. But at the same time, he has continued to prevent Haitians waiting on the other side of the US-Mexico border from entering under Title 42 and, to the shock of immigrant advocates, resumed deportation flights to Haiti on Wednesday despite the country’s continuing turmoil.

Mexico has recently started refusing to take Haitians expelled under Title 42. That’s why Haitians stranded in Del Rio are slowly being processed by US immigration authorities and allowed to enter the US, where most will likely be released with instructions to appear for an immigration court hearing at a later date.

But if Biden had it his way, they wouldn’t be allowed to cross at all.” 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/22679444/texas-haitian-migrants-del-rio-border-abbott

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