2021-09-19 21:33:25 Haiti Protests Mass Deportation of Migrants to a Country in Crisis

Haiti Protests Mass Deportation of Migrants to a Country in Crisis

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITIAN REPUBLIC — The Haitian government objected to the Biden administration’s plans to deport thousands of migrants from the United States, claiming that Haiti is in the midst of a deep political and humanitarian crisis and lacks the resources to receive thousands of homeless deportees.

According to Jean Negot Bonheur Delva, the head of Haiti’s national migration office, authorities expect 14,000 Haitians to be deported from the United States in the next three weeks. Officials said they were preparing to receive three flights of migrants to the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, on Sunday.

In an interview, Mr. Bonheur Delva stated, “The Haitian state is not really capable of receiving these deportees.”

In July, Haiti’s president, Jovenel Mossé, was assassinated. A month later, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake devastated the country’s impoverished southern peninsula, forcing the Caribbean nation’s unstable government to deal with the aftermath of a deadly natural disaster.

Historically, most Haitian migrants have fled violence and economic deprivation in the capital, Port-au-Prince, which is home to roughly half of the country’s population. However, a new wave of immigrants has fled the earthquake-ravaged areas.

According to a United Nations report released last week, the quake affected 800,000 people, with 650,000 still in need of emergency humanitarian assistance a month later.

Many of the Haitians being deported from the United States will most likely return to the earthquake-ravaged southern villages and towns where running water and power have yet to be restored.

Mr. Bonheur Delva stated that “ongoing security issues in the country” made relocating thousands of people extremely difficult. He claimed that the country was unable to adequately provide security or food to the returnees, and that the Covid-19 pandemic added to the country’s inability to accept so many people at once.

“I am requesting a humanitarian moratorium,” he stated. “This is a very difficult situation.”

Following a halt in deportations to Haiti following the August earthquake that killed over 2,000 people, the Biden administration reversed course last week when a flood of Haitian migrants crossed into Texas from the border state of Coahuila, Mexico.

Thousands of Haitian migrants crossed the Rio Grande and huddled under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, putting additional strain on the country’s already overburdened migration system.

The announcement that the Biden administration would resume deportations has the country’s new government scrambling to figure out how to best respond.

According to Mr. Bonheur, the country typically hosts deportees for up to 48 hours in order to process their arrival. It was unclear how officials would be able to do so if the US goes ahead with plans to send up to four flights per day.

“Will we be able to handle all of that logistics?” According to Mr. Bonheur. “Will there be enough food to feed these people?”

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Haiti Protests Mass Deportation of Migrants to a Country in Crisis