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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

US official in Haiti apologizes for therapy of migrants

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A prime U.S. official on Friday apologized for the way Haitian migrants have been handled alongside the U.S.-Mexico border, saying it’s not how border officers or the Division of Homeland Safety behave.

The feedback from Juan Gonzalez, the U.S. National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere, got here throughout a two-day official go to to Haiti to speak with native leaders about migration and different points.

“I wish to say that it was an injustice, that it was improper,” he mentioned. “The proud individuals of Haiti and any migrant need to be handled with dignity.”

The U.S. authorities lately got here beneath fireplace for its therapy of Haitian migrants, with photos displaying males on horseback, corralling Haitian asylum seekers.


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Gonzalez was visiting with Brian Nichols, U.S. assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, amid ongoing expulsions of Haitians from the U.S. to their homeland. Since Sept. 19, the U.S. has expelled some 4,600 Haitian migrants from Del Rio, Texas on 43 flights, in line with the Division of Homeland Safety.

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Michele Sison, proper, talks with Nationwide Safety Council Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere Juan Sebastian Gonzalez, as Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols speaks throughout a information convention on the U.S. Embassy, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. 
(Related Press)

Gonzalez mentioned the gathering of migrants alongside the border is a public well being emergency and warned those that are pondering of leaving to not danger their lives.

“The hazard is simply too nice,” he mentioned.

Gonzalez and Nichols beforehand met with Haitian People and Cuban People in Miami on Wednesday and with Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, members of the civil society and political leaders in Haiti on Thursday to speak about migration, public security, the pandemic and efforts to assist these affected by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the nation’s southern area in mid-August.

Nichols mentioned that in their go to, they heard many individuals discuss in regards to the challenges that Haiti faces, noting that there’s a “stunning” quantity of settlement on potential options.

“There is no such thing as a answer that may work for Haiti and its folks that will likely be imposed from the skin,” he mentioned, referring to current criticism in regards to the involvement of the U.S. and different international locations in Haitian affairs because it tries to get better from the earthquake and from the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse at his personal dwelling. “Nevertheless, we in the US are dedicated to offering the Haitian individuals the assist they should succeed and implement their very own imaginative and prescient.”

Nichols mentioned the dialog with the prime minister was constructive, including that the U.S. is encouraging consensus and a holistic imaginative and prescient.


“The way forward for Haiti relies upon by itself individuals,” he mentioned. “The US is dedicated to working with the individuals of Haiti to assist as they work to deliver prosperity and safety again to their nation.”

Nichols mentioned a technical crew from the U.S. State Division’s Bureau of Worldwide Narcotics and Legislation Enforcement will go to subsequent week as Haiti struggles with a spike in gang-related violence, with the bureau’s assistant secretary visiting in upcoming weeks. He mentioned later this month, the undersecretary for civilian safety, democracy and human rights will go to with different senior officers to speak about police and safety points.

Related Press author Dánica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico contributed to this report.

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