Once again, Haiti leads the immigration news. Democracy Now was at the airport with a crowd of family and supporters when Jean Montrevil returned from Haiti. Montrevil was one of the immigration activists targeted for deportation under the Trump administration. He was deported in 2018, and returned this week under a special 90-day parole. Undeterred, he is still speaking out about the Biden administration’s deportation of thousands of Haitians.
(Democracy Now) “It’s very — it hurt my heart a lot just to see people getting deported back to a country where there’s no government, a country that’s being run by gang members. And the U.S.A. know that. They know Haiti don’t have a functioning government. Everybody is afraid to go outside. Things are getting so expensive. People cannot eat. People cannot do nothing in Haiti. It’s really very heartbreaking. It broke my heart just to see that Biden government cannot take — are deporting people. Just, like, they need to take a second look at the policies. To watch people walk two months on foot, walking, crossing the Darién forests just to be here, knock on your door, and then you still deport them back with their kids. And it’s very heartbreaking. I think the Biden administration needs to take a second look and to stop the deportation to Haiti. You cannot deport people to where there’s no government. There is no government in Haiti. The country is being run by gang members. Gangs are everywhere, just like you mentioned earlier, the 400 Mawozo, the Martissant group. You know, it’s terrible. And the government know that. They know that….
“Well, for immigrants, I will tell them: Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to fight. Fight for your kids. Fight for what’s right. We deserve to be here. America has always been a country of immigrants. And nothing has changed in the immigrants’ world. People travel to here just to find a better way to live, to support their families back home. There’s nothing changed in the immigration world. You can talk about a hundred years, from 200 years ago. It has always been the same. You move somewhere to flee your country from persecution, from poverty, to find a better way to take care of your family.”
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Its government was in a shambles even before the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. A major earthquake killed more than 2,000 people in August and left thousands more homeless–on top of those still homeless from an even worse 2010 quake. Haiti is the country with the highest asylum denial rate—and now the United States does not even allow asylum seekers to apply.
(NPR) “Like thousands of Haitians, Gibbens Revolus, his wife, Lugrid, and their 2-year-old son, Diego, made the treacherous journey to the U.S.-México border from Chile and ended up under the international bridge in Del Río, Texas, last month. …
“I want people to understand the misery,” says Revolus who describes the journey as “hell.” Revolus can’t remember the exact date when his family started the journey to the the U.S. border. ‘Time blurs,’ he says. But it took them almost three months of travel mostly by bus, many days by foot and the family crossed from Colombia to Panama in a jam-packed boat. Revolus says his infant son kept getting sick, constantly throwing up and having diarrhea….
“‘We were not given the chance to make our case for asylum,’ Revolus says. The family was put on a deportation flight to Haiti on Sept. 27….
“At the White House briefing, when Secretary Mayorkas was asked by reporters about the lack of leniency towards Haitian asylum seekers, considering the growing gang violence and instability, he told reporters that the U.S. determined Haiti to be safe.
“Though the State Department‘s travel advisory for Haiti warns against “travel to Haiti due to kidnapping, crime, unrest, and COVID-19.'”
And in other news
Most emergency relief excludes undocumented residents. New York is changing that.
(Mother Jones) “When Hurricane Ida hit New York City on September 16, it dumped more than three inches of rain an hour. Sewers overflowed, streets turned into rivers, and thousands of homes and basements across the city’s five boroughs flooded. Assembly member Jessica González-Rojas saw the devastation firsthand when she toured her constituent neighborhoods of Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Woodside in Queens. Family after family, mostly low-income immigrants, told her they’d lost almost all of their possessions in the storm. But as González-Rojas encouraged residents to seek help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, she learned that those who were undocumented were ineligible for aid….
“As pressure mounted, Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $27 million fund to help undocumented survivors of Ida in the city—the first initiative of its kind in the country. The fund will provide up to $72,000 to about 1,200 households with undocumented members to pay for things like repairing homes and replacing essential items.”
ICE uses prolonged solitary confinement as punishment, as “protection” for vulnerable detainees, and as a health measure. Except: the United Nations and medical experts call solitary confinement a form of torture, which doesn’t sound very protected or healthy. The latest DHS report says ICE doesn’t even keep good records on solitary confinement, so it’s hard to imagine any oversight. One egregious example: two detainees were held in solitary confinement for more than 300 days.
(CNN) “The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general found that the immigration agency lacks effective oversight and clear policies to ensure accurate and comprehensive tracking and reporting on the use of solitary confinement, known as segregation.
“From fiscal year 2015 through 2019, the DHS watchdog hotline received 1,200 allegations related to concerns about solitary confinement, including issues such as detainees not knowing why they had been segregated and detainees being threatened with segregation. ….
“Additionally, ICE did not always comply with its own reporting requirements. For example, a detainee’s placement was not recorded in the agency’s system until 88 days into a 250-day segregation, in violation of policy.”