After Del Rio, calls for fairer treatment of black migrants
Regardless, the footage of officers on horseback elicited such a visceral reaction not only from immigration advocates, but also from black Americans and powerful civil rights organizations like the NAACP, that many there see a time for change.
“The ties were made for black people,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization. “And accountability demands that the Biden administration act, because all black people have seen it, and we cannot ignore it.”
Even after Mr. Biden condemned the confinement of migrants at Del Rio, his administration sent dozens more deportation flights to Haiti, totaling nearly 8,000 people, according to the Haitian Bridge Alliance, a group of defense of rights. Many say it doesn’t make sense for a country that the administration described as having “a political crisis and human rights violations, serious security problems” and “a dire economic situation” as a result of the pandemic. On Saturday, gang members in Haiti kidnapped 17 missionaries.
The response to Del Rio is emblematic of the Biden administration’s approach to border security, which many immigration advocates say bears no resemblance to the “humane” immigration system Mr. Biden during last year’s campaign. And the massive deportation of Haitians to a country torn by crisis, advocates say, is all the more disappointing from a president who has priority racial equity.
The issue could become a political responsibility for Democrats as the 2022 midterm elections approach, said Adrianne Shropshire, executive director of BlackPAC, a political organization group. The participation of black voters in 2022, she said, will be critical for Democrats to retain their majority in the House and Senate.
“It would be a mistake to think that black Americans don’t pay attention to immigration issues,” Ms. Shropshire said, “especially because the images we have seen are so shocking”.
In just over two weeks last month, around 28,000 migrants crossed the border illegally to Del Rio, coming in large groups across the Rio Grande and crushing the border patrol.