Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley expressed their disappointment over the United States’ inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants at the southern border and their summary deportations. In a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Wyden, Merkley and 14 of their Senate colleagues also called for the immediate appointment of a new Special Envoy for Haiti as the country reels from natural disaster, gang violence, COVID-19 and political crisis in the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
“Over the course of our lifetimes, our Haitian brothers and sisters have endured dictatorships, constitutional crises, food insecurity, pandemics, natural disasters, forced displacement, the assassination of their President, and the criminal takeover of their communities. Their resilience is unparalleled and our communities in the United States have flourished as a result of the presence of Haitian immigrants and their American children,” the senators wrote. “Ensuring the integrity of U.S. borders is of utmost importance, and is not incompatible with the fundamental duty to respect the dignity, humanity, and rights of all individuals seeking entry to the United States.”
The senators called for both the establishment of a reintegration program for returnees and international collaboration to secure access to protection, assistance and information about rights for Haitians living abroad. They also urged the Biden administration to step up efforts with partners throughout the Western Hemisphere to find solutions that place the protection needs of Haitian migrants and the long-term stability of Haiti at the core of the United States’ approach.
Along with Wyden and Merkley, the letter, led by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was co-signed by Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Alex Padilla, D-Calif., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo..
Find a copy of the letter here.
A web version of this release is available here.