The Biden Administration must welcome Haitian asylum seekers with dignity, cease all expulsion and deportation flights to Haiti immediately and put an end to the racist mistreatment by U.S. border agents of people struggling to seek safety in the United States.

Innovation Law Lab condemns in the strongest possible terms the racist treatment by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents of Black asylum seekers from Haiti who have traveled to Del Rio, Texas in search of refuge and protection. CBP agents on horseback attacked Black migrants with whip-like lariats, continuing the historic mistreatment of Haitian refugees and the unacceptable legacy of racism in the U.S. In addition, vulnerable families are living in inhumane conditions without sufficient shelter, water, food or medical attention, and being unfairly expelled under Title 42 to a country where they face danger.

These Haitian families and individuals are refugees, just like so many Afghans, Central Americans, and others forced to flee violence and destruction in the wake of U.S. military, political, and economic intervention. Expelling refugees to Haiti is especially unconscionable given the country’s devastation from a recent earthquake. Meanwhile, a violent political crisis continues to unfold in Haiti on top of many years of destabilization by the United States. It is our legal and moral responsibility to provide Haitian refugees an opportunity to apply for protection through our asylum laws. For us and many others, it is an honor and privilege to welcome with dignity those in search of safety.

“What is happening in Del Rio right now will go down in history as a shameful symbol of racist and inhumane U.S. border policies designed to expel, divide and exploit people in search of safety,” stated Ian Philabaum, Program Director with Innovation Law Lab. “The Biden Administration can either continue down the path of racist border enforcement or halt deportation flights to Haiti and welcome people with dignity.”

We join the chorus of voices calling on the Biden Administration to immediately and urgently take the following actions:

  • Stop all deportation and expulsion flights to Haiti.
  • Terminate Title 42 for all migrants, ending unfair and dangerous expulsions.
  • Grant humanitarian parole to Haitian and any other asylum seekers in Del Rio, Texas and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico so they can apply for protection safely.
  • Provide urgent humanitarian aid to Haitian and any other asylum seekers in Del Rio, Texas and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, including shelter, water, food and health care.
  • Investigate CBP for its mistreatment of Haitian people in Del Rio, Texas and take steps to ensure such mistreatment never happens again.
  • Do not reinstate the cruel Remain in Mexico policy and restart its wind-down process.

We encourage community members to support the work of Haitian Bridge Alliance, an organization currently accompanying Haitian asylum seekers in Del Rio, Texas and responding to the situation on the ground there and along the border. (