haitian asylum seekers del rio
Alix Desulme (center), getting briefed by a US Border Patrol agent on the Haitian migrant crisis in September 2021. He was joined by legal professionals including Carlos Moore (left), president of the National Bar Association. (Facebook photo)

NEW YORK — In the weeks since the migration crisis in Del Rio, Texas, Haitian-American elected officials have pressed for greater influence with federal policymakers. They say it has not been easy to gain attention, particularly from the White House.

“What is very clear to us is immigration is not pulling high, so it’s not a priority, and that’s the bottom line,” said Alix Desulme, chair of the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON) and vice-mayor of North Miami.

After September’s influx of Haitian asylum seekers in Del Rio, Texas, NHAEON has articulated a set of immigration policy priorities. But since meeting with Biden administration officials, its members say, they have received little indication that policies will change. Thousands more Haitian migrants are currently heading to the southern border via Mexico. 

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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.

Larisa is a reporter for The Haitian Times covering politics, elections and education primarily. A graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, she has interned at CNBC and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. She is also a recipient of a 2021 DBEI Fellowship by Investigative Reporters & Editors. Larisa can be reached by email at larisa@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @larisakarr.