Democrats call on Biden to address ‘disparate and often inhumane treatment’ of Black migrants

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) addresses reporters during a press conference on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 about a resolution condemning Rep. Lauren Boebert's (R-Colo.) use of Islamaphobic rhetoric and removing her from her current committee assignments.
Greg Nash

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) are among a group of more than100 Democrats calling on President Biden to address and review the treatment of Black migrants within the United States’ immigration system.

The Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to the president dated Wednesday in which they said Black migrants were facing “disparate and often inhumane treatment” within the immigration enforcement process, pointing specifically to Haitian migrants as an example.

“In September 2021, as large numbers of Haitians entered the United States at the Texas border at Del Rio, we saw disturbing images and videos of border patrol agents using horses and horse reins against Black people at the border—who were carrying nothing but food and water,” the lawmakers wrote. 

“For many, this incident conjured images of our country’s treatment towards enslaved Black people and highlighted longstanding concerns regarding the disparate treatment of Black migrants by immigration enforcement officials,” they added.

Biden called the images “outrageous” in September, adding, “I promise you, those people will pay. There is an investigation underway right now and there will be consequences.”

The lawmakers specifically called on Biden to end the use of Title 42, a public health authority that can prevent migrants from seeking asylum by expelling them from the U.S. 

“It is time to undo the United States’ draconian immigration policies, particularly policies introduced under the Trump Administration, such as the use of Title 42, that circumvent our humanitarian obligations,” the lawmakers wrote.

They added that they wanted the departments of Justice and Homeland Security to also do a review of the treatment of Black migrants within the immigration system.

“As a starting point, we recommend the Department of Homeland Security, in concert with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), conduct a wholistic review of the disparate treatment of Black migrants throughout our immigration system, make available to the public the results of this review and take steps to remedy disparities at each step of the immigration enforcement process,” the lawmaker said.

“It is essential that we recommit ourselves to reversing anti-Black policies, including by adopting a human-rights centered approach to supporting immigrants and people seeking asylum in the United States.”

A White House spokesperson, Vedant Patel, told The New York Times on Wednesday that “we continue to defer to the C.D.C. on its use” of Title 42 and added that, regardless of someone’s country of origin, immigration laws are enforced “across the board.”

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

Tags Cori Bush Cori Bush Cory Booker Cory Booker Haiti Joe Biden migrants

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video