OP-ED: Biden administrator vows to quash Trump’s cruel inhumanity at border
When President Joe Biden lobbied the Haitian community during his campaign, the prevailing feeling was that, given the options, he would be an advocate for immigrants in a country that, under the Trump administration, quickly turned its nose to those who are looking for a better life for themselves in the United States. Trump’s words referring to Haiti as a “shit” country echoed in town halls and WhatsApp groups discussing the latest election and whether supporting Biden would help or hurt the community.
After all, America has a model of “altered” groups when it suits, and given Haiti’s historic relationship with the United States, Haitian voters wanted to guard against this. However, to the surprise of many, support for Biden did not translate into protecting black asylum seekers from the throes of American ethnocentrism, racism and bigotry. Instead, he catapulted them to the center of it, followed by a one-way “home” ticket.
MORE: Dictatorship Masked as Democracy: A Timeline of the American Invasion and Occupation of Haiti in 1915
Biden has vowed to deviate from the 45th president’s immigration policies. In October 2019, then-candidate Biden denounced “the abandonment of President Trump [of] the Haitian people ” in a tweet after months of internal political strife and gang violence that made the country almost habitable.
So where is this president now? Haiti is still reeling from political chaos – made worse by political assassinations, earthquakes and hurricanes – but asylum seekers are largely ignored.
We see preferential policies where power has determined that one group of immigrants is not as large (or even as human) as another. Biden’s politics were expected to be more proactively responsible for world events, but that is clearly not the case. Haitians have been largely abandoned at the worst possible time, while the policies of the Biden administrations have been responsive at best, but that would still be too generous.
Despite the disappointment, this is nothing new for America’s relationship with Haiti. The modern world’s first free black republic has had a troubled paternalistic relationship with the declining superpower since its founding.
Inspired by the rhetoric of the American and French revolutions, Haitians assumed the new government would support the political liberation of their country. However, the United States has held its own against the black republic instead, aligning itself with European might in an effective attempt to destabilize Haiti and show the world the might of white supremacy.
We have seen different manifestations of this exercise in perpetuating white supremacy, century after century, decade after decade. Fast forward to 2021, and Haitians continue to be discriminated against and treated worse than their Caribbean and Latin American compatriots.
Take, for example, America’s relations with Cuba, another country close to both Haiti and the United States. Mired in half a century of political divergence with the United States, Cubans fleeing communism as political and economic refugees were invited with open arms. However, when Haitian asylum seekers asked for the same reprieve, they were shown the heavy hand of the US government.
If that sounds drastic, think about what is currently happening from a global perspective with Afghan refugees and asylum seekers. After our colonization and twenty years of occupation of Afghanistan, Americans reluctantly accept asylum seekers as a tacit concession of defeat (one of the many mess America has created in the world over the years. 20 years) by leveraging public resources, the business community, international NGOs, and a network of U.S. associations to help war-tarnished Afghans escape Taliban oppression. On arrival, many of these refugees and asylum seekers benefit from social assistance, including accommodation from private companies like AirBnB seeking to contribute to the global community.
Now take the myriad of destructive events that besiege the innocent people of Haiti: earthquakes, the assassination of a president, a lack of resources, all leading to violence in the streets and the need to ask. asylum. Besides the crisis they are escaping, what is the fundamental difference here? Supporting one group is politically fashionable and another is not.
Perhaps most blatantly has been the inconsistent approach between those from Haiti who are already here and those trying to come for the same reason: domestic destabilization. The United States government has chosen to extend Temporary Protected Status (GST) Haitian asylum seekers already in the country, but as this crisis has evolved and more and more people have sought entry from Haiti, the US government has not acted. The direct and blatant contradiction highlights the need to reassess the way immigration policy decisions are made.
The federal government of the United States has the power to act and treat all asylum seekers humanely. We must move beyond the moment when our government, NGOs, nonprofits and others have the privilege of deciding whether one group takes precedence over another. It is a country founded on freedoms and the promise of a better life. The Biden administration and future governments must equalize their approach to asylum seekers and treat all who seek refuge in this land of immigrants with humanity and respect in order to undermine the supremacist thought America has fought against since its inception. .
Erica Dumas, Haitian-American, national public relations strategist
Vania Andre, Haitian-American, The Haitian Times, Chairman of the Board
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