LCCRSF Statement on Biden Administration’s Racist and Violent Treatment of Haitian Asylum Seekers in Del Rio

Last week, the Biden Administration decided to respond to increased numbers of Haitians seeking humanitarian protection in the United States by expelling them without due process under Title 42, a Trump-era policy that uses public health concerns as a pretext to close the border to asylum seekers. Earlier in the week, a federal court held that Title 42 is illegal, but delayed its decision from going into effect for two weeks. The Biden administration has already appealed. 

To effectuate its hasty, illegal deportation flights to Haiti, the Biden administration sent hundreds of Border Patrol agents to Del Rio, where they descended on Haitian migrants with brutality, chasing them on horseback, brandishing what appeared to be whips, and yelling vile, racist language. In response, Bree Bernwanger, Senior Immigrant Justice Attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF), issued the following statement: 

“The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF) is sickened and outraged at the Border Patrol’s racist, violent, and illegal treatment of Black migrants in Del Rio, Texas. But we are also outraged at the policy choices that make this violence possible: the refusal to honor our asylum laws and the continued reliance on immigrant policing systems rooted in racism.  

The Biden administration chose to use an illegal policy to expel Haitian migrants without offering them any opportunity to pursue asylum, despite the fact that Haiti recently experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and the political upheaval of a presidential assassination. The Biden administration chose to respond to Black migrants in crisis by sending in the Border Patrol, a law enforcement agency rooted in white supremacy and with a long history of abusing migrants with impunity. The Biden administration chose to continue the work of the Trump administration: to empower racist policing institutions to deter migration, regardless of the human cost.  

We condemn the Biden administration’s choices and urge it to stop deportation flights to Haiti, end Title 42, stop policing protection seekers, and instead welcome them with dignity by building the strong and humane asylum system that the law demands.” 

Since 1983, LCCRSF has been on the frontline of the U.S. government’s war on immigrants, representing thousands of asylum seekers and challenging the unjust systems and policies that result in cruel and unfair immigration practices. Through our Asylum Program, we match asylum seekers with pro bono attorneys who represent them before the San Francisco Immigration Court.