EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Activists took to the streets of Downtown El Paso on Thursday to demand an end to deportation flights to Haiti and the Title 42 public health policy used to remove other migrants on public health grounds.
The so-called “March for our Dignity” was one of at least two dozen protests nationwide demanding President Biden make good on campaign promises of giving migrants due process and provide a path to citizenship for those who’ve lived and worked here for many years.
“We are here to protest the treatment of our fellow migrants from Haiti. You shouldn’t even treat animals like that,” said El Paso resident Irma Cruz, who said she was shocked to watch images of Border Patrol agents on horseback charge at Haitians trying to cross the Rio Grande near Del Rio, Texas. “I am sad that a country that bills itself as defender of human rights is treating in this manner people who come to seek its help.”
Across the county, from Washington, D.C., to Atlanta, immigration and civil rights advocates held rallies and news conferences to call for a moratorium on deportations, and end to Title 42, the defunding of federal immigration agencies and the firing of agents who use excessive force or mistreat migrants.
Advocates who a year ago were faulting President Donald Trump for allegedly inhumane immigration policies are now turning their attention to President Joe Biden.
“The Border Patrol corralling Haitians is the most clear and recent evidence of what we already knew, that border and immigration policies and practices are rooted in white supremacy and racism,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights.
The co-organizer of Thursday’s protest in El Paso said human and civil rights violations are rife on the U.S.-Mexico border and that asylum-seekers, including families, are subjected to harsh treatment and “institutional violence.”
He said Biden must bring these agencies and “rogue” public servants back under control or else assume responsibility for their actions.
“All of this is un-American, it’s unacceptable and shameful,” Garcia said. “It’s time for the Biden administration and the (Democratic) majority in Congress to protect the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers, immigrant families and border residents. If they don’t, they become accomplices and part of the problem, not the solution.”