April 15, 2024


We Digest News to tell the Truth

Faith leaders “shocked by the tragedy our nation is producing for Haitians seeking protections”

Washington, DC – Nearly 100 faith-based organizations and over 700 faith leaders are calling on the Biden administration to halt deportation flights and stop expelling Haitians and other migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. Re-designating the country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is another urgent need.


Said Bishop Philius H. Nicolas with Evangelical Crusade of Fishers of Men, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Brooklyn, NY:


As a Haitian Pastor ministering in the community for over fifty years, I am shocked by the tragedy our nation is producing for Haitians seeking protections. By sending at least 17 deportations flights to Haiti since the beginning of February 2021, the U.S. has made the immoral choice to reject instead of protect over 1,000 Haitians–including more than 270 children–seeking asylum and security.


Detaining and deporting asylum seekers doesn’t just turn our back on immigrants. It shamefully turns our back on God, who calls us to welcome our neighbors. Instead, we must halt the returns of Haitians and many other Black nationality migrants, which are sending them to face danger and which has cost the lives of many. I call on the Administration to re-designate TPS for Haitians, and also to protect Cameroonians and Mauritanians through TPS.


In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, the 708 faith leaders and 99 faith-based organizations write:


Lawfully, DHS can act to right a preventable wrong and immediately stop all deportation and expulsion flights that are scheduled to go to Haiti, Jamaica, Cameroon, Angola, and to other unstable nations. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) flights are death flights and the individuals that have been sent back to Haiti, Somalia, Cameroon, Mauritania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among other nations, have had their human, legal, and civil rights violated. The Guardian spoke to some migrants brutally mistreated by ICE:


Cameroonian asylum seekers who they said were tortured by being forced to approve their own deportations. The asylum seekers described being forced to the floor and having their fingers inked and pressed on to deportation documents they had refused to sign.


People of faith affirm the outrage expressed by more than 60 Members of Congress and 400 human rights organizations, as the Biden-Harris administration continues this Trump-era immigration immigration rooted in white supremacy. The expulsion policy has also been criticized by public health experts as “based on specious justifications and [failing] to protect public health,” who lay out alternatives that do not include expanding immigration detention.  


The faith letter identifies clear contradictions within the Biden administration’s overall approach to immigration, human rights, and racial equity.


The recent halt of a deportation flight to Africa, in recognition of the need to investigate serious allegations of coercion and abuse from immigrants slated for deportation, was welcomed. However, deportations and expulsions to Jamaica, Haiti, and other unstable nations continue. The Miami Herald reports that the Biden Administration is in the process of deporting 1,800 Haitians, including families with children.


Continuing these policies is reprehensible. The clear targeting and prioritization of Black migrants for deportation, after the Biden Administration has also made a point of imbuing U.S. government policies with racial equity, makes this decision all the more incomprehensible.


Read the full letter here.


The Interfaith Immigration Coalition is made up of over 55 national, faith-based organizations brought together across many theological traditions with a common call to seek just policies that lift up the God-given dignity of every individual. In partnership, we work to protect the rights, dignity, and safety of all refugees and migrants.


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