Felicia Persaud (26512)
Felicia Persaud

From the tale being told by mainstream white media, one would think the entire population of Haiti was trying to enter the U.S. illegally.

While the focus has been on the thousands of Haitians trying to enter the U.S. by trekking thousands of miles through the dangerous Darien Gap from their temporary homes in Central and South America, U.S. Customs and Border numbers released on Oct. 22, tell a far different tale.

While border patrol made nearly 1.7 million arrests of immigrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2021––the highest number on record––the majority are not Haitians but Mexicans. 

The CBP data shows 608,037 of the migrants apprehended were born in Mexico while 367,275 includes “others,” largely identified as Haitians, Venezuelans, Cubans and Brazilians. 

Another 308,931 are from Honduras while 279,033 are from Guatemala, and 95,930 are from El Salvador. There is no individual breakdown of Haitians. 

Still, overall, the new apprehension is a huge jump from Fiscal Year 2020, when the number was just 400,651. In August 2021 alone, there were 209,840 immigrants arrested, the highest for a single month in the past five years at least. This was preceded by 213,593 in July, another month that shattered records for the past five years.

The majority of those arrested, according to the CBP data, were nabbed in Del Rio, the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso and Tucson. Almost 1.1 million are single migrants––an almost 235% jump from 2020. Some 113,030 were reported in September alone, a 9% increase compared to August.

Almost 452,000 were families, an almost 764% jump from Fiscal Year 2020. Encounters of family unit individuals in August alone was 86,631.

Unaccompanied minors accounted for approximately 145,000 or a 374% increase from last fiscal year, with 18,806 reported in August alone. That is an average of 1,435 per day in August.

However, the CBP data shows the Joe Biden administration is relying heavily on Donald Trump’s Title 42 rule to expulse large numbers of the arrivals.

There were 84,911 expulsions of single adults under Title 42, the CBP data shows while 17,599 migrants with families were expelled under the same rule.

The news comes as a 26-page report from Human Rights Watch, titled, “‘They Treat You Like You Are Worthless’: Internal DHS Reports of Abuses by US Border Officials,” details internal reports made by asylum officers within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, (USCIS) about the conduct of personnel in the immigration enforcement arms of their same parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

Though heavily redacted, the reports, which HRW obtained after litigation under the Freedom of Information Act, include allegations of physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, due process violations, harsh detention conditions, denial of medical care, and discriminatory treatment at or near the border. 

In one example, the records show that a supervisor in the San Francisco Asylum Office communicated the following internally at DHS: “AO [asylum officer] [redacted] brought a serious matter to our attention just now: one of the applicants she interviewed today has a young child who was sexually molested by someone we believe to be a CBP or Border Patrol Officer. They were apprehended by Border Patrol, sent to the Ice Box [a border holding cell], then this occurred: the young girl was forced to undress and touched inappropriately by a guard in the Ice Box wearing green, with the nametag [redacted].” 

The documents, which were produced in response to a request for records held by USCIS, do not record how DHS responded to these allegations.

One can only imagine how many other cases there are, including of countless Brown and Black immigrants too scared to speak out. We all saw the viciousness on full display in Del Rio against Black and Haitian migrants. 

Little wonder that 20% of all deportees from the U.S. are Black, according to The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, even though they are hardly the majority of undocumented migrants. 

For those holding out hope for change, don’t hold your breath. The holder of the office may change, but the system remains the same––stacked against poor Black and Brown immigrants.

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow

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