They claim that the U.S. immigration policy is and has been anti-Black for a long time.
They claim that the treatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol is only the latest in a long line of discriminatory U.S. policies. This angers civil rights leaders, Black immigrant advocates, and Haitian Americans.
They point out that immigration data shows that Haitians and other Black immigrants face a variety of structural obstacles to legal entry or living in the U.S., and that they often have disproportionate contact with American criminal justice system which can lead to their deportation or jeopardizing their residency.
According to data analyzed by The Associated Press, Haitians are granted asylum at the lowest rates of any nation with a high number of asylum seekers.
Yoliswa Cele, UndocuBlack Network's national advocacy group for Black people, stated that "Black immigrants live at an intersection of race, immigration, and have, for too long, fallen through the cracks o red tape and legal loopholes."
"Now, through videos of the abuses at the Haitian border, the world has seen for itself that not all migrants looking for a better future are treated equally when it comes to skin color."
Only 4.62% of Haitian asylum-seekers were granted asylum by America between 2018 and 2021 -- the lowest rate of all 84 groups that data is available. The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola and Haiti with asylum seekers. Their rate is also low at 5.11%.
Compared to this, four of the top five U.S. asylum seekers are from Latin America -- El Salvador (Guatemala), Mexico (Mexico) and Honduras. They accept anywhere from 6.21% up to 14.12%.
Nicole Phillips, legal Director for the Haitian Bridge Alliance, stated that racism has been a driving force in the treatment of Haitian immigrants by the American government.
Phillips, who is on the ground in Texas helping Haitians, said that this goes back to the early 1800s when Haitian slaves rebelled and gained independence form France. It has continued through decades U.S. occupation and intervention in the small island nation.
She claimed that the U.S. was threatened by its slaves revolting and so both supported the French and didn’t recognize Haitian independence for almost six decades. The U.S. loaned money directly to Haiti in order to buy its independence. It also collected interest payments, while plunging Haiti into poverty for many decades.
Phillips stated that the stigma and mentality against Haitians dates back to that time.