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Freedom, Inc. | Statement on U.S. Treatment of Haitian Refugees

View the full statement here

Freedom Inc. knows too intimately the struggles and experiences of Hmong, Khmer and Black refugees and immigrant stories. Over the last 20 years in providing services to Hmong and Khmer refugees and organizing Queer, Trans, women, and youth around issues like deportation, domestic, and police violence, we are outraged at the United States’ treatment of Haitian people seeking refuge at our borders.

Immigration is a decision that refugees have to make in order to protect themselves and their families. They come here looking for solace and are instead placed in cages by our government. This country has a deep, terrible history of violence against refugees from non-white countries, and particularly toward Black refugees. Why is it that Black people must be put in cages whenever they cross our borders? The right to asylum is a foundational part of this country, but it is constantly denied to people on the basis of their race and nationality.

We’ve seen the world be appalled by the horrific photos of Afghan refugees being left behind by U.S. evacuation planes, but that same empathy is missing for the Haitian asylum seekers imprisoned at the border. The unrest that is driving Haitians away from their home is the direct result of Western imperialism, especially the environmental impact of the United States. Just like with our Afghan refugees, they are here because we were there.

We are a product of failed refugee resettlement programs. The impacts of this cruelty last for decades, leading to poverty and generational trauma in these communities. These asylum seekers deserve to be let into our country in their pursuit of a better life. They deserve to be treated with compassion and given the foundation for a better life. Freedom Inc. demands the acceptance of any and all refugees, but that acceptance must also come with support and access to life-sustaining resources.

We stand with organizations like the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) and echo their demands: The US government must allow Haitian asylum seekers across the U.S. border and offer them asylum without detention. Once accepted, these refugees must be given the support and resources necessary for them to build new lives. Finally, all deportations and expulsions of Haitian nationals must cease immediately.

Love & Power,

Freedom, Inc.