Haitian and Black community leaders and supporters held a protest and rally outside of the Newark ICE Field Office to demand President Joe Biden’s administration stop deportations, especially of Haitian migrants and Black asylum seekers.
Biden visited New Jersey on Monday to break ground on the new Portal North Bridge promoting his Build Back Better agenda. He also visited two classrooms at East End Elementary School in North Plainfield, NJ and later gave remarks at the New Jersey Transit Meadowlands Maintenance Complex.
Community leaders are calling on Biden and the New Jersey congressional delegation to support and protect Haitian and Black immigrants. Their demands include the ending of all deportations, revoking the Trump-era Title 42 clause and a clear path to citizenship.
“Throughout my years here, it has been very clear to me that my fellow compatriot Haitians do not have the same opportunity [that I did] to come here legally,” said Haitian immigrant and community leader Renel Pierre. It is heartbreaking to see what’s been happening at the border with the Haitian refugees, who are seeking asylum, better opportunities and to ultimately live the American dream.
Rev. Jean Maurice of New Jersey Haitian Pastors Association said conditions in Haiti are forcing immigrants to come to the U.S. He said Biden should deliver on his promise for immigration reform.
“The uncontrollable gang culture, the assassination of the president, and the deadly earthquake caused thousands of Haitians to migrate to South America and Central America,” Maurice said. “United States stakeholders must work with the diaspora and Haitians abroad to find practical solutions to these ongoing problems.”
In the U.S., Black immigrants are more likely to be criminalized and face ICE deportation for a criminal offense than other races even with similar crime rates. While Black immigrants make up just 7% of the non-citizen population, they face over 20% of deportation proceedings based on criminal grounds.