UN experts criticize US for deportation of Haitian migrants, allege 'racialized exclusion'

UN experts criticize US for deportation of Haitian migrants, allege 'racialized exclusion'

October 27, 2021

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United Nations human rights experts this week criticized the U.S. for the expulsion of Haitian migrants last month in response to a surge of tens of thousands of Haitians to the southern border — with the officials accusing the U.S. of “racialized exclusion.”

“In expediting the collective expulsion of Haitian migrants, the United States is subjecting a group of predominantly Black migrants to impermissible risks of refoulement and human rights abuse without any individualized evaluation,” the experts said, in a statement issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The OHCHR statement said the experts had accused the U.S. of “ongoing systematic mass deportation” of Haitian migrants and refugees.

The U.S. was hit by a surge of migrants predominantly from Haiti in the Del Rio sector last month. It led to chaotic scenes with more than 15,000 migrants camped under the International Bridge at one point as the Department of Homeland Security surged resources to process some migrants and expel others.

Haitian migrants continue to cross across the US-Mexico border on the Rio Grande as seen from Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila state, Mexico on Sept. 20, 2021.
(Getty Images)

However, some Democrats objected to the treatment of migrants at the border, with some repeating false claims that images showed the migrants being whipped by Border Patrol agents on horseback. The claims were later repeated by President Biden. 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas promised an investigation and said that the images “painfully conjured up the worst elements of our nation’s ongoing battle against systemic racism.”

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a news conference at The National Press Club in Washington, on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The statement from the U.N. office also adopted the racial narrative, saying that the experts “warned that the mass deportations seemingly continue a history of racialized exclusion of Black Haitian migrants and refugees at US ports of entry.”

The experts also claimed the deportation of Haitians back to Haiti was a breach of international law.

“International law prohibits arbitrary or collective expulsions,” they said. 

“States cannot label all migrants of a certain nationality per se threats to national security, and all migrants, no matter their nationality, race or migration status, must be guaranteed the protections called for under international law.”

The U.N. experts include E. Tendayi Achiume, the special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Achiume is one of the experts on human rights who was invited to the U.S. by Secretary of State Antony Blinken for an official visit earlier this year.

Rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council who will typically gather information on their respective issues and then issue a public report. The U.S. left the Human Rights Council in 2018 due to its anti-Israel bias and the makeup of its membership, which included countries with abysmal human rights records. The Biden administration has since moved to rejoin it, and the U.S. was re-elected earlier this month.

The latest statement comes after the U.N.’s high commissioner for refugees also criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the crisis last month and backed calls from liberal groups for the Biden administration to abolish “mass expulsions” via Title 42 altogether, saying it was in violation of international norms.

Fox News’ Ben Evansky contributed to this report.

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