Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ruffled feathers on the left and right with her appearance at the Met’s annual gala with “Tax the Rich” emblazoned on her gown, but the attacks did not dissuade her from voicing her concern about the deportation of Haitians.
In a tweet and later in a statement she asserted her feelings about the situation: “It doesn’t matter if a Democrat or Republican is President, our immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants. Immigration should not be a crime, and its criminalization is a relatively recent invention. This is a stain on our country.”
She was joined by her Squad member, Rep. IIhan Omar of Minnesota, whose tweet was no less condemnatory of the government’s policy at the border. It was “cruel, inhumane, and a violation of domestic and international law,” she said.
The treatment of Haitians fleeing the terrible conditions in Haiti—and the process of deporting 14,000 of them has begun—is being conducted against the current opening of portals for Afghans. It is reminiscent of the situation the Haitians encountered years ago in direct contrast with the flow of Cubans allowed entry.
There is nothing new about the disparity of treatment of immigrants seeking asylum, and it once again underscores the need to have an immigration policy that is fair and equitable to all those huddled masses at the various ports of entry.
Another blow was delivered to the nation’s immigration laws, which includes the current crisis, when Senate Democrats were blocked from adding a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented people in the tax and spending bill.
Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, was dismayed by the decision and now must hope that the Senate parliamentarian will favor the Democrats’ tactic that would be a vast improvement on the Dreamers.
“We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues. Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and will be holding additional meetings with the Senate parliamentarian in the coming days,” Schumer said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Dreamers and the Haitians remain in a troubled and imperiled limbo, waiting almost hopelessly for a speck of human decency in a country founded on the notion of caring for others as the great poet Emma Lazarus wrote—“Give me your tired, your poor…The wretched refuse of your teeming shore…I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” And that illumined door has to swing open to all without discrimination and in advance of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Frantz Fanon’s “The Wretched of the Earth.”
President Biden is sure to address this issue during his speech at the U.N. on Tuesday—we hope.