RI takes Biden Administration to task for treatment of Haitian refugees at southern Border“Haitians have received inhuman treatment,” said Dr Norly Germain, Executive Director of Hope and Change for Haiti. “The behavior of Border Patrol agents chasing and whipping Haitians, including pregnant women and children is an outrage.”
Published on September 29, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist
Cranston City Councilmember Aniece Germain and Providence City Councilmember Nirva LaFortune, both Haitian-Americans, held a press conference on Tuesday at the Rhode Island State House calling on the Biden Administration and Rhode Island’s congressional delegation to “take appropriate measures to ensure that Haitian people are treated with respect and dignity in the United States.”
The press conference comes as a reaction to an incident at the Mexican/American border in Texas where United States Border Patrol agents were photographed on horseback ruthlessly running down Haitian migrants and whipping them with the leather straps of their harnesses.
Councilmember Germaine acted as emcee. Below is all the video from the event:
“Haitians have received inhuman treatment,” said Dr Norly Germain, Executive Director of Hope and Change for Haiti. “The behavior of Border Patrol agents chasing and whipping Haitians, including pregnant women and children is an outrage.”
“It was just yards form here that this state Rhode Island, was founded as a refuge for those fleeing religious and political persecution,” said State Treasurer Seth Magaziner. Magaziner has declared his candidacy for Governor. “That is our heritage as Rhode Islanders.”
“It says in or founding documents that it falls on each and every generation to do their part to form a more perfect union,” said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. “And I believe that what we’re witnessing right now with our immigration policy is one of these moments and one of these decisions that’s going to decide who we are as a country and who we are as a people.”
“It is not okay and it has to stop,” said State Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (Democrat, District 5, Providence). “Our brothers and sisters are simply fleeing poverty, homelessness, lack of food – and by the way, these poor people just survived an earthquake!”
“It’s even more unacceptable when put in the context of, after four years of the Trump Administration and everything that we experienced, this is still being done under the framework o public health, by enacting Title 42,” said State Representative Brandon Potter (Democrat, District 16, Cranston). “It’s unacceptable.”
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“We cannot be silent while violence is perpetrated. We cannot be neutral in the face of systemic racism,” said Hilary Levey Friedman, candidate for State Senate District 3 in Providence. “Haitian migrants, many of whom are asylum speakers, are being subjected to a trifecta of oppression – anti-Black racism, anti-immigrant prejudice and a rejection of human rights.”
“I challenge us to bring Haitian refugees to our own state. Why can’t we?” Asked Central Falls City Council President Jessica Vega. “Let’s put our money where our mouth is.”
“I want to ask you all how you’re utilizing your privilege and your power to become action oriented,” said Chanda Womack, Executive Director of ARISE (Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education). “That anger needs to fuel you to stand in solidarity with the most oppressed, and that has been Black bodies in this country.”
“We cannot be hypocritical when we say we have policies on asylum, but the practice is that it’s asylum for non-black people only,” said Jim Vincent, President of the NAACP Providence Branch. “China and Russia, thy on’t claim to be democracies, and if we’re not a democracy, it’s just say that we’re not. Just tell the truth about who we are. Tell the truth about systemic racism and white supremacy. Let’s at least be honest about it.”
“What’s happening right now is nothing new. I don’t know if anyone remembers the 1980 refugee act, which actually stopped Haitians from seeking asylum in the 1980s, at sea,” said Providence City Councilmember Nirva LaFortune. LaFortune is a candidate for Mayor of Providence. “This issue is something that has been happening for quite some time.”
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