Haitian Border Crisis Rekindles Concerns and Ugly Images

The crisis is over, but the problems with the immigration system remain.


ABC News

This tent encampment illustrates the squalor and crowding at the makeshift camp near Del Rio, Texas.

Thousands of Haitian refugees are seeking asylum after facing rough conditions and abuse in camps in Del Rio, Texas. Many are being flown back to their homeland after the U.S. closed part of their Texas border. In addition to COVID-19, within this year, Haiti has suffered the assassination of their president Jovenel Moïse, as well as an earthquake, leaving the country unstable.
Many refugees have left Haiti for other parts of Central America in the past, but the effect of COVID-19 on the economy has motivated many to flee to the United States. This surge in refugees exceeded the capacity of the local border control, and groups of Haitians were shipped to other border facilities in Texas such as El Paso and Laredo. Due to Covid procedures that fast-track the immigration process, immediate expulsions of Haitians before they have a chance of claiming asylum is authorized. Many are left to choose between returning to Mexico or being sent back to an even worse state of affairs in Haiti, which turns the situation into a humanitarian crisis because of the many threats towards the Hatians lives and well being.

A border patrol agent demonstrates the tacts which brough the agency — and the Administration — so much criticism. (Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images)

Videos and pictures of the current situation in Del Rio have spread across the Internet, showing the chaos taking place. One video depicts two U.S. border agents on horses shouting at the Haitian refugees as agents block refugees in an attempt to push them across the border back into Mexico. Many Haitians took to the Rio Grande to avoid the horses and are seen carrying their sole possessions in plastic bags and running from the men on horseback
In response to the video, on Friday, September 24th, Biden made one of his first public comments on the situation in Del Rio, and condemned the “outrageous” actions of the agents. Still, Biden has stayed vague and quiet on the more specific topics such as the actual deportation or acceptance of the Hatians, and has been subject to many critiques on his lack of action this past week. Since Friday, the border camp in Del Rio has been almost completely cleared, and around 2,000 Hatians have been flown back to Haiti. 8,000 have chosen to return to Mexico instead, and over 5,000 are still being processed.