PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A high U.S. official on Friday apologized for a way Haitian migrants had 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. Nationwide Safety 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 mistaken,” he mentioned. “The proud folks of Haiti and any migrant should be handled with dignity.”
The U.S. authorities lately got here underneath hearth for its remedy of Haitian migrants, with photographs displaying males on horseback, corralling Haitian asylum seekers.
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 keeping with the Division of Homeland Safety.
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 just too nice,” he mentioned.
Gonzalez and Nichols beforehand met with Haitian Individuals and Cuban Individuals 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 speak in regards to the challenges that Haiti faces, noting that there’s a “shocking” quantity of settlement on potential options.
“There isn’t a answer that may work for Haiti and its people who might be imposed from the surface,” he mentioned, referring to latest criticism in regards to the involvement of the U.S. and different nations in Haitian affairs because it tries to get well from the earthquake and from the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse at his non-public residence. “Nonetheless, we in the US are dedicated to offering the Haitian folks 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 folks,” he mentioned. “The US is dedicated to working with the folks of Haiti to assist as they work to convey prosperity and safety again to their nation.”
Nichols mentioned a technical group 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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