haitian asylum seekers
Haitian asylum seekers arrive at the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition in Del Rio on Sept 23, 2021 to take a bus to a shelter in Houston, Texas. Photo by Leonardo March

As more than 14,000 Haitians arrived at the United States border town of Del Rio, Texas, in late September, immigration advocates and Haitian-Americans decried the often chaotic processing of the incoming asylum seekers. But the landmark federal spending and social policy bill currently being debated in Congress contains some provisions to reform the immigration system, including preliminary processing.

Federal lawmakers are still negotiating the Build Back Better proposal by the Biden administration. It aims to address immigration, among other topics like expanding health care access and reducing the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. 

“I am working to secure funding so we can transform our southern border and we can receive asylum seekers with human dignity and fairness,” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer told Haitian-American elected leaders on Oct. 23, speaking about his support for Biden’s plan. “We need the proper facilities, proper medical care, and the right staff to receive families and children that are fleeing violence.”

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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at sam@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @sambojarski.