- Ashari Cain
Horrible Plight of Haitian Migrants
Political conflict and a recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake have torn apart Haiti's infrastructure and forced communities to flee their homes. Thousands of Haitians have journeyed through Mexico and flooded the U.S. border seeking refuge only to be met with physical abuse and discrimination from border control authorities. Degrading images have poured onto social media platforms and struck the world with outrage. Officers were seen on horseback aggressively harassing families as they tried to cross, reaching out for water and necessities after travelling in hot, harsh conditions. The cruel images taken reflect the dark shadows of slavery which lingers in America's stagnant system.
Two side-by-side images surfaced and quickly popularized: one of a master on horseback whipping an enslaved black man, and the other of an officer on horseback dragging a black refugee by his shirt. Each image shows tragedies centuries apart, bleeding the same racial violence. Black communities have battled and suffered decade after decade.
President Joe Biden spoke out and condemned the harassers for their actions, reassuring them that those responsible would be punished accordingly. "I promise you: those people will pay," Biden said at a recent press conference. An investigation is currently in effect. Meanwhile, officials dispute over immigrant deportation and asylum.
About 1,400 migrants have already been deported back to Haiti, where shelter and food scarcity abound the streets of rubble and decaying bodies. One Haitian migrant and a few of his family members left their corrupt home in 2014 and traveled by foot and bus through 11 countries to finally arrive at the chaotic U.S/Mexico border in September 2021.
"Haiti is like hell for me now…" he said. During his travels, he and his family often had their supplies robbed by violent gangs, children had to be hidden and women were raped. Towards the end of his seven-year journey he is broken with the news that his mother who stayed back, is among the deceased of 2,200 who suffered in the devastating earthquake. "There is nothing for me there...If they're going to send me back, they may as well kill me."
In Mexico alone, an estimated 80% of Haitian migrants have experienced exploitation and discriminatory abuse along their journeys. Unfortunately, threatening prejudice and maltreatment is normalcy ingrained in the paths of individuals seeking asylum in America from their crumbling homes. Not only do these vulnerable communities have to leave behind physical belongings, but their traditional customs and possessions are typically neglected as they are expected to assimilate. With Haiti in continuous economic decline and imploding with gang violence, every soul it has ever known is amid ongoing trauma and cultural displacement.