Senator James Sanders Jr. Condemns Border Guard Use of Whip on Haitian Migrants

James Sanders Jr.

September 21, 2021

State Senator James Sanders Jr. said: “I am disgusted and appalled by the video footage showing Border Patrol whipping their reigns at Haitian migrants near the U.S. Mexico border, a clear violation of human rights and domestic and international law.

The last time we saw white men whipping black people in such a public horrendous fashion was during the Jim Crow era and the subsequent separation and dehumanization that followed. Later during the first half of the twentieth century, blacks were separated from whites in ghettos to control their growing population in what is considered American Apartheid. Now, not much has not changed. The images are very much the same.

The actions on that video U.S. Mexico border was not an example of how Americans, particularly those in power, should treat their fellow human beings. 

We are a country of immigrants with many of those of Haitian descent live in the district I represent. Our Haitian brothers and sisters are desperately trying to flee the poverty and violence in their own country, and deserve to be treated with respect. They are still recovering from an earthquake and the assassination of their President Jovenel Moïse, who was killed in his private residence in the capital, Port-au-Prince, on July 7, 2021, causing political turmoil and upheaval.

On August 14, 2021 a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, leaving more than 650,000 people in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. This comes as the island nation is still trying to recover from a massive earthquake in 2010 that displaced more than 1.5 million people. Many left and headed for South and Central America, but now employment opportunities are drying up in Latin America as the pandemic continues and Haitian migrants are seeking asylum in the United States.

These tough and resilient people have been struck down so many times yet they continue to seek a better life for themselves and their families only to be met by whip wielding border patrol when they get to the United States. Can you imagine the devastation and humiliation they must have felt?

Worse still, President Biden went back on his word. It was only a few months ago that he said our country would welcome the Haitian people when the Department of Homeland Security designated Haiti for temporary protected status, a designation given when there are conditions of extreme political upheaval, conflict, or natural disasters. Our government said point blank that Haiti was not a safe place.

Temporary protected status was extended and expanded for Haitians just five weeks ago, but now 14, 000 Haitians are being expelled, almost the same number at the Del Rio encampment, citing Title 42 of the Constitution - removal by the U.S. government of persons who have recently been in a country where a communicable disease was present. I understand the health concern, but these people can be vaccinated and quarantined before entering the United States.

 I intend on writing to President Biden and asking that the Haitian people be treated with the same care and compassion as we hope the Afghan refugees entering our country should receive.”