Issued September 21, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C.— SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement in response to the expulsion of Haitian migrants seeking refuge in the United States.
“SEIU members are united in our belief that America should welcome immigrants, no matter where they are from or the color of their skin. The working people of SEIU call on President Biden and DHS Secretary Mayorkas to put an end to these expulsions, put a moratorium in place on all removals to Haiti as has been requested by Haitian officials, and ensure humane treatment of those who make their way to our border. We are horrified by the treatment of the Haitian women, children and men arriving at our border seeking refuge. It is our responsibility, as the land of liberty and justice for all, to ensure that everyone in America—Black, brown, AAPI or white—is treated with dignity and respect.
“The combination of crises, including a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, and the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic has left Haiti and its people in a state of desolation, on top of the historical injustices that Haitians have faced. Haitian migrants have journeyed to the United States to find hope, and our government has a moral obligation to treat them humanely. Instead, Haitian families have reportedly been met with handcuffs and intimidation and are now being returned in large numbers to the dangers from which they fled. The images that have emerged of Black people being terrorized by officers on horseback are deeply disturbing, as we’ve seen weapons of violence used against a community of survivors of trauma.
“Over 14,000 Haitian refugees are expected to be expelled from the United States in the next three weeks under a xenophobic Trump administration policy that uses the pandemic as a pretext despite the expert consensus that there’s no public health justification. It is cruel and unjust to force families, many of whom have not resided in Haiti for some time, to return to a country that does not have the capacity to provide food, water or shelter. We must never turn our backs on people and families seeking refuge.