New York, September 20, 2021 – The network of Scalabrinian entities, through the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), joins the call made by various civil society organizations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to the authorities of the United States and Mexico to put an end to the accelerated deportations of migrants who are at the border crossing between El Río, Texas, and Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico. This process in which the right of migrants to know if they are legally eligible to receive the Refugee status or other international protection measures, as contemplated in national and international humanitarian protection frameworks, is violating the principle of no return or non-refoulement.
As is known, since last week, more than 15 thousand migrants, mostly Haitians, but also some Venezuelans, Cubans, and Nicaraguans, are under the border bridge that connects the cities of El Río and Ciudad Acuña. Hundreds of them have already been expelled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, without having the opportunity to present their refugee application to the United States authorities, which have affirmed that said accelerated expulsions will continue based on the provisions of Title 42 (restrictions to asylum as a preventive measure against communicable diseases, in this case, COVID-19), which entered into force in March 2020, thus giving the Biden administration continuity to a policy implemented by the Trump administration. This led the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to publicly express its concern over the expulsions to Mexico and Guatemala of migrants from the United States.
According to statements made by the Minister of Elections of Haiti, Mathias Pierre, this country is not in a position to receive the expelled Haitians because “we have the situation in the south with the earthquake, the economy is a mess and there are no jobs. The prime minister must negotiate with the United States government to stop deportations at this time of crisis.” Given this scenario, deportations constitute a clear violation of the principle of non-refoulement, because, as the IACHR affirms, “they would again face situations similar to those that forced them to leave their country of origin… returnees would not have access to sufficient protection to guarantee their safety and reintegration in the communities of origin.”
We also reiterate the call that civil society organizations have made to the Mexican government, based on the national and international legal framework, to put an end to the deportations of Haitians from Mexican territory, in violation of due process and the right to asylum of the migrants and, as an alternative, opt for humanitarian measures, such as the immigration regularization of families with children born in Mexico, stay for humanitarian reasons for those awaiting a response to their asylum application and temporary residency programs, among others.
It is essential that the governments of the United States and Mexico honor their legal commitments regarding asylum and humanitarian assistance and put an end to expulsions as a strategy that only seeks, ineffectively, to stop migratory flows from the Caribbean, Central and South America, since these flows, as has been historically proven and projected, will not stop in the short and medium-term. A paradigm shift is urgent to find solutions that, while respecting the rights of migrants, are sustainable in the medium and long term for destination communities.
For more information on the path that Haitian migrants have followed in the American continent until their arrival in El Río, Texas, see: Haitians on the Move