On July 15, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local officials dropped off two busloads of Haitian immigrants in the small city of Shreveport, Louisiana.
Approximately 80 in total were dropped on the city with a same-day advisory to officials there. One bus arrived with about 50 immigrants on board, according to KTBS-3 News while a second bus arrived later with 29 people aboard—22 men and seven women. Thanks to churches and two major non-profit immigrant organizations, the migrants were taken care of and given bus and airfare to reunite with friends and family.
The drop-off came as Haiti is reeling amid the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moïse, with still no clear indication or explanation as to how he was slaughtered in his home. Gangs are running loose, shutting down ports, robbing and looting, as people flee to churches and gymnasiums for shelter with their families. Even the president’s funeral was interrupted by gunshots as diplomats, including from the U.S., had to be hustled away to safety and to the airport and out of the country.
Many Haitians lucky to flee Haiti are now stuck in Tijuana or being deported back to a country where lawlessness is now the order of the day.
But the U.S.’ immigration czar and its first Black, Asian and Caribbean American vice president, Kamala Harris, is silent. Not a peep on this neglect of Black immigrants from her own administration.
As Guerline Jozef, founder and executive director of the non-profit, Haitian Bridge Alliance, told “PBS NewsHour’s” Ivette Feliciano on July 24: “Since President Biden took office, 35 deportation and expulsion flights have been sent to Haiti in the middle of all the chaos.” That’s almost three dozen flights.
Let’s face facts. If this had happened under Donald Trump’s administration, Harris and every other Democrat would be on primetime television, decrying the racist treatment of Black immigrants and reminding everyone of the alleged reference to Haiti as an s-hole nation.
But the same policies are in place under the Biden-Harris administration, with the first Black, Asian and Caribbean American vice president and its immigration czar, and there is nothing but the pathetic sound of silence.
So much for the buoyancy of Caribbean voters who helped this ticket win. So much for those, including yours truly, who felt the Caribbean would finally have a voice at the table in Harris.
Alas, Harris is fast proving herself to be nothing but a massive disappointment––especially when it comes to the Caribbean and the immigration task she is charged with as well.
After literally begging for months, most of the Caribbean is still waiting for U.S. vaccines. Haiti finally got some on July 14. Apart from the shamelessly promoted 80 vials donated to Trinidad and Tobago, the rest of the CARICOM region is still waiting.
On immigration, apart from two visits to two Latin American nations and a trip in June to the southern border and lots of meetings, Harris has done little else.
This as the problems at the southern border gets worse with no real end in sight, and many Black immigrants, including from Haiti, are caught in the crossfire.
The assassination of President Moïse in Haiti and the uprising in Cuba and subsequent harsh crack down by the government there, has finally forced the U.S. to pay attention to the neighbor it has happily chosen to ignore and pay lip service to for decades.
But things are only going to get worst, especially in these two countries, and no amount of politics will fix it––not harsher sanctions on Cuba and certainly not BS calls for elections in Haiti, which is literally burning.
Yet, in all of this, Kamala Harris, has chosen to stay mute. Sure, some may argue, she is not the president; and sure, it’s a State Department matter.
But as immigration czar, surely, she has to care about Black immigrants, who––like her father––are simply seeking a chance to find somewhat of a better life and live in peace and safety?
Do Black Lives Still Matter when it comes to poor Black immigrants? Perhaps if they were Indians or Jews, it would be a different story.
Instead, Harris’ silence shows how little she actually cares.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow