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Protesters in Miami demand asylum for Haitian migrants

The protesters in South Florida are demanding that the Biden administration hear the asylum claims of migrants trying to enter the country in Texas.
The protesters in South Florida are demanding that the Biden administration hear the asylum claims of migrants trying to enter the country in Texas.

MIAMI – A large group gathered in front of Miami’s immigration office Wednesday, at one point blocking 7th Avenue, to protest the U.S. government’s mass deportation of Haitian migrants from a Texas border town.

They are demanding that the Biden administration hear the asylum claims of Haitian migrants trying to enter the country in Del Rio, Texas.

“They need to treat us like a people,” protester Marie Jacinthe said. “They treat you like a dog. ... It’s very, very bad the way they treat us.”

On Wednesday, many of the Haitian migrants were being released in the United States and admitted into the asylum-requesting process, undercutting the Biden administration’s public statements that the thousands in the camp faced immediate expulsion.

One U.S. official put the figure in the thousands.

The ones being admitted generally have sponsors and are families or are pregnant women.

Hundreds of others have been deported with no asylum due process under Title 42, which allows expulsions under health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Get them vaccinated and then get them through the process,” protester Santcha Etienne said.

Many of the migrants took long, dangerous treks to the border on what Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said was “false information that the border is open, or that temporary protected status is available.”

That misinformation was coming to many by way of smugglers who charged families large sums of money with the promise of delivering them from a country in political, social and economic crisis.

A group gathered in Miami on Wednesday pleading for the United States government to hear the asylum claims of Haitian migrants at the border in Texas.
A group gathered in Miami on Wednesday pleading for the United States government to hear the asylum claims of Haitian migrants at the border in Texas.

The White House has faced a bipartisan backlash for the handling of the border situation.

“America, this is your litmus test of humanity and empathy,” said state Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park.

Striking video of agents maneuvering their horses to forcibly block and move migrants attempting to cross the border has sparked resounding criticism from Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Those actions are currently being reviewed, and Mayorkas said the agents involved have been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of an investigation.

“The actions we’re taking are swift and strong, and we will take further action as the facts adduced in the investigation compel,” he wrote on Twitter.


About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing Local10.com.