The Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA) has filed a class action lawsuit against the Biden administration alleging abuse of Haitian asylum seekers, whose rights it says were violated when they were removed from a camp fortune in Texas in October.
The HBA also claims that the Department of Homeland Security violated the rights of thousands of Haitian asylum seekers after they fled the French-speaking Caribbean country due to the danger and insecurity there.
According to the HBA, the Haitians upon arriving in the United States, joined at least 15,000 Haitian asylum seekers in a makeshift U.S. Customs and Border Protection encampment in Del Rio, Texas, but they suffered from hunger and dehydration due to the camp conditions.
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Asylum seekers said they were “suffocating in triple-digit temperatures” during the day and “sleeping on the ground” at night.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, included a statement from one of the plaintiffs, Mirard Joseph, who said he was “attacked” by a Border Patrol agent on horseback.
The photo of Joseph’s experience was documented in a photo that has come under a lot of criticism, including from President Biden. The Del Rio incident prompted the resignation of the US envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, in September. That same month, New York City Councilman Dr. Mathieu Eugene wrote to President Biden, asking him to stop the deportation of Haitian migrants and end what he described as “the treatment cruel to Haitians.
The lawsuit specifically accuses the Biden administration of failing to prepare for the influx of migrants when it was aware of the imminent arrival of immigrants. It also says the government was responsible for the physical and verbal abuse of migrants as well as failure to follow due process due to COVID-19 policies, including Title 42, which allows people to be deported for reasons of public health.
In addition to the HBA, several immigrant advocacy groups, including Justice Action Center and Innovation Law Lab, represent the 11 Haitian asylum seekers named in the case.
In the current lawsuit, the HBA seeks an injunction and a declaratory judgment. The HBA further aims “to ensure accountability and an end to the harmful, discriminatory and unlawful policies of the Biden administration.”