A year after footage of Mounted Border Patrol agents confronting Haitian migrants at the U.S. border sparked international controversy, a new human rights report insists that since then the situation of Haitian migrants has not improved – and could be worse.
The strong-worded report from Amnesty International, a non-profit human rights organization, is titled “They Didn’t Treat Us Like People”. It’s damning from the first sentence: “U.S. authorities have subjected Haitian asylum seekers to arbitrary detention and humiliating mistreatment amounting to racially-based torture.”
The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border enforcement, did not respond to comments.
Amnesty International’s assessment of living conditions for Haitians on the US southern border, based on interviews with at least two dozen refugees, comes after US Border Patrol agents turned back scores of Haitian migrants in the Rio Grande last year. This incident drew a strong rebuke from President Biden, who promised more humane treatment for Haitians.
But the report insists that Haitians continue to receive discriminatory treatment – including shackles and handcuffs on deportation flights to Haiti. And he argues that they have been overly blocked or discouraged from seeking asylum in the United States – despite Haiti’s dire poverty and gang violence.