“Thousands of Haitians are indefinitely trapped in Mexico. They face pervasive racism, and many are unable to work, have no access to medical care, and are targets for criminals. Most have arrived in the last year, hoping that the Biden presidency would open up an opportunity for them to finally seek protection in the US.
Those hopes were in vain. Now, Mexico is seeing a sharp uptick in Haitian asylum applicants — a surge it is unequipped to manage — all because the United States has offloaded its immigration responsibilities onto its neighbor.
The Biden administration continues to enforce pandemic-related border restrictions that have kept out the vast majority of asylum seekers, including Haitians; it’s deported nearly 14,000 Haitians since September 2021 despite their country’s political and economic crises. As a result, many Haitians face a difficult choice: Try to cross the US border and risk getting deported to Haiti if caught, or attempt to make a life for themselves in Mexico, at least temporarily.”
“President Joe Biden did allow more than 100,000 Haitians already living in the US before July 29, 2021, to apply for Temporary Protected Status, which allows them to live and work in the US on a temporary basis. But he has largely pursued a strategy of deterrence and exclusion with respect to Haitian migrants outside US borders, despite the fact that their country is still reeling from President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination and the one-two punch of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake and a tropical storm last summer.”
“The US could have made other choices that would have eased the burden on Mexico. For example, the Biden administration could have expanded TPS for Haitians or allowed them to enter the US temporarily on what’s called “parole,” a kind of temporary protection from deportation. It could have ended its deportation flights to Haiti and its restrictive border policies, or at least created broader exemptions to them. Instead, it has dumped its responsibilities to Haitians onto Mexico, which is ill-equipped to give them the kind of support they need.”