PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The Haitian government has protested the Biden administration’s plans to deport migrants en masse from the United States, arguing that Haiti is in a deep political and humanitarian crisis and has failed not the means to accommodate thousands of deported homeless people.
Haiti’s national migration bureau chief Jean Negot Bonheur Delva said authorities expect 14,000 Haitians to be deported from the United States over the next three weeks. Officials said they were preparing to receive three migrant flights on Sunday alone to the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
“The Haitian state is not really able to accommodate these deportees,” said Bonheur Delva in an interview.
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July. A month later, the country’s impoverished southern peninsula was devastated by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake, forcing the unstable Caribbean nation government to deal with the fallout from a deadly natural disaster.
Traditionally, most Haitian migrants have fled violence and economic deprivation in the capital Port-au-Prince, where about half of the country’s population lives. But a more recent wave of immigrants have fled the quake-hit areas.
According to a UN report released last week, 800,000 people were affected by the earthquake and a month later, 650,000 are still in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.
Many Haitians deported from the United States are likely to return to villages and towns in the south destroyed by the earthquake, where running water and electricity have yet to be restored.
Mr. Bonheur Delva said that “the ongoing security problems in the country” have made the resettlement of thousands of people extremely difficult. He said the country could not adequately provide security or food for returnees and said the Covid-19 pandemic was further complicating the country’s ability to accept so many people at once.
“I am asking for a humanitarian moratorium,” he said. “The situation is very difficult.
After suspending deportations to Haiti after the August earthquake that killed more than 2,000, the Biden administration changed course last week when an influx of Haitian migrants entered Texas from the ‘Border state of Coahuila, Mexico.
Thousands of Haitian migrants crossed the Rio Grande and huddled under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, further straining America’s already overwhelmed migration system.
News that the Biden administration would start the evictions again has left the country’s new government scrambling to figure out how best to respond.
Typically, Bonheur said, the country welcomes deportees for up to 48 hours in order to process their arrival in the country. It was unclear how authorities could do this if the United States followed through on plans to send up to four flights a day.
“Will we have all this logistics? Said Mr. Bonheur. “Will we have enough to feed these people?”