Bishops: “Sad to see such disdain for human dignity”
“We are saddened to see this disdain for human dignity.” This is the comment of Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, chair of the Immigration Committee of the American Conference of Bishops, and Sister Donna Markham, president of Catholic Charities, pose in front of pictures of mounted policemen who chased Haitian immigrants as they attempted to cross the US-Mexico border.
For two weeks, 14,000 Haitian immigrants camped under the bridge in the small town of Del Rio, 230 kilometers from San Antonio, Texas; After crossing the Rio Grande illegally. Without food or water, men, women, and families with children faced every risk to leave the island and land in Mexico. From there, on foot or in makeshift cars, they tried to reach one of the six ports of entry open along the border.
Catholic charities in San Antonio rushed to the rescue, bringing clothes, blankets, baby clothes, water and food to the makeshift camp. Some have been moved to a more well-equipped city to allow them easy access to friends and acquaintances while they await procedures to be carried out by the immigration service.
The Bishop of San Antonio, Gustavo García-Celler, explained that del Rio is only a “small piece” of the Texas-Mexico border, so it does not have the infrastructure for a large group of immigrants, unlike cities like Brownsville and McAllen. . and El Paso with a long tradition of hospitality. Moreover, the language barrier is one of the most complex: Haitians only speak French.
The Biden administration began the deportations on September 22. Officials are appealing a Trump administration ruling that justifies the deportation as pandemic prevention. Of the deported Haitians, some were repatriated, and others would be returned to the Mexican or Central American cities where they lived before crossing.
Two officials, while ensuring anonymity, reported that in fact “too many Haitians” were transported by bus and plane to other US cities such as El Paso, Laredo, the Rio Grande Valley and Tucson, Arizona. All received a summons to assess their immigration status within 60 days and apply for temporary asylum.
The Secretary of the Department of Security, Alejandro Mallorcas, has redesigned temporary protected status, allowing some Haitians who have been in the United States since at least July 29, 2021, to remain and work in the country for eighteen months. Meanwhile, an investigation was opened with Border Police officers on horseback who drove the crowd “apparently with a whip”. The officers explained that they did not use the whip, but rather long reins to better control the horses, under pressure from the number of people surrounded by them.
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