By Juan Garcia and Onz Chery
At a Brooklyn rally denouncing the Biden Administration’s treatment of Haitians at the US-Mexico border and their deportation to Haiti, activists called for U.S. leaders to let the migrants stay.
“Haitians belong here,” said Sista Shirley, a Staten Island-based activist. “Anybody who wants to come here deserves to be here. You know what, Biden? If you don’t do what you know you should do, then you’re not better than Trump.”
Organizers of the rally, which drew about 25 attendees, also called on members of New York’s Haitian communities to take a visible stand against the administration’s treatment.
“We needed to have a presence, a demonstration, here in Brooklyn…[to] denounce the United States, and also to let people at the border, because they’re people not animals, to let them know that they’re not alone,” said Dahoud Andre, an organizer.
Nearly 14,000 Haitian migrants have accumulated under a bridge in Del Rio since last week. The Homeland Security Department started removing them to Haiti Sunday. Images of border patrol agents on horses whipping the migrants went viral Monday.
Despite the harsh treatment, many migrants have been released to relatives or friends in the U.S. while waiting for asylum hearings. As of Tuesday, about 8,600 migrants were left, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told AP.
The majority were being returned to Haiti on daily flights to Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien, according to Haitian migration officials.
Meanwhile, a trickle of groups tried to hold rallies to show support. Early Tuesday, one pro-Haitian migrant rally advertised to take place at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan drew five attendees, one of them carrying a Haitian flag. The small group left minutes later, after being told the rally moved to Brooklyn.
In front of Brooklyn Borough Hall, about 15 people stood with placards reading ‘Stop deportation for Haitian[sic]’ and ‘Konpasyon nap mande,’ Creole for ‘We’re asking for compassion.’ Several local politicians and leaders were among the attendees.
More rallies are planned to take place across the U.S. on Wednesday. Family Action Network Movement (FANM) scheduled a demonstration at USCIS Miami Field Office in Miami. Another rally will be held at Senator Alex Padilla’s office in Downtown Los Angeles on Thursday.