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News > Latin America

UNCHR Criticizes Mistreatment of Haitians on US Border

  • Border Protection officers containing migrants at the Rio Grande, U.S., Sept. 19, 2021.

    Border Protection officers containing migrants at the Rio Grande, U.S., Sept. 19, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @AP

Published 23 September 2021
Opinion

"Summary, mass expulsions of individuals currently under way under the Title 42 authority, without screening for protection needs, is inconsistent with international norms," it said.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi denounced the deplorable situation of thousands of migrants at the U.S. border and criticized the mass expulsions of asylum seekers.

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“I was shocked by images of the deplorable conditions beneath the concrete highway overpass in Del Rio, Texas, where over 14,000 Haitians had gathered after arduous journeys from a number of countries in the Americas,” he said.

He criticized that the United States continues to apply the "Title 42", a rule established by President Donald Trump to immediately expel asylum seekers, claiming that they pose a health risk, either by virtue of being subject to previously announced travel restrictions or because they unlawfully entered the country to bypass health screening measures.

“The summary, mass expulsions of individuals currently under way under the Title 42 authority, without screening for protection needs, is inconsistent with international norms and may constitute refoulement. I reiterate UNHCR’s call for the US government immediately and fully to lift its Title 42 restrictions in effect since March of 2020 which continue to deny most people arriving at the southwest U.S. land border any opportunity to request asylum,” Grandi stressed.

Since Title 42 was issued, the United States has expelled over a million asylum seekers, recalled Doctors Without Borders (MSF) spokesperson Avril Benoit recalled and requested that the expulsion of Haitians be suspended due to humanitarian reasons.

“It is unconscionable to return migrants against their will to this situation of uncertainty and mortal danger. When people are seeking safety in the U.S., putting them onto planes and forcing them into this context is beyond inhumane,” she pointed out.

The expulsions of migrants, however, is not just an administrative act. Human rights defenders have repeatedly denounced that asylum seekers are harassed and mistreated by security agents on both sides of the border.

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