The Continuing Failures of our Immigration System

Despite numerous promises, the U.S government has turned its back on Haitan migrants fleeing from instability.


Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar/The Texas Tribune

It was promised to us: A fair and humane immigration system that would have a compassionate approach towards migrants. But lately, the Biden administration has brutally mishandled a surge of Hatian migrants at the southern border.


On top of the pandemic, Haiti has recently been struggling with both political instability and natural disasters. The assasination of the country’s President and a 7.2 magnitude earthquake over the last few months have forced an influx of Haitan families and individuals to migrate to the U.S to seek a better life, making a treacherous journey through South and Central America to head to the U.S-Mexico border. An estimated nearly thousands of people have set off to make the passage,going through 11 different countries and experiencing robberies, dangerous weather and a lack of basic necessities like food and water.



Credit: France-Presse/Getty Images


Almost all of us have seen the images of Border Patrol agents on a horse pushing and forcing back Haitan migrants from crossing the Del Rio river into the U.S. The photo speaks for itself—disgusting, horrifying and representative of how our government has long treated migrants, especially Black immigrants searching for better opportunities.


President Biden responded to these images saying that this is “simply not who we are”. But if it’s not who we are — then what do we stand for?

Well we, as a country, have never stood for a fair and humane immigration system. These images are not the first ones that have shocked and disgusted many. From detained children to family separation, the promises that our government makes towards ‘fixing’ our immigration system is nothing more than a lie; and from these false promises, migrants suffer.


The victims from these horrendous images are not just migrants, but they are people. And it is important for us to be reminded of this. While we sit and see these images on our phone, scrolling mindlessly on social media, these individuals are actively experiencing this. Sacrificing almost everything and agreeing to make a long, dangerous journey to even have a chance to enter the United States. These people have a name, a family and a life they were forced to leave in order to seek a better one.


While many of these migrants have a legitimate claim to seek asylum in the United States, Biden has upheld an emergency public health order introduced by the Trump Administration to immediately expel migrants without even considering their asylum claims—which is usually required by US law.


Haitian refugees, especially Black migrants, are more likely to face harsher outcomes than any other nationality. Haitian families are not only currently being detained more often, but ICE is also making it more difficult for them to be released. Additionally, Black immigrants face the highest asylum rejection rates — in fact between 2012-2017, Haitians had a denial rate of 87%.


Despite this, over 13,000 Haitian migrants have still gathered under a bridge between the Texas-Mexico border hoping to seek a new life in the United States. US officials have sent back several thousands to Mexico, disallowing them from even entering the United States. While Biden has promised aid to Haitian Deportees, it has yet to arrive.


While thousands of these migrants continue to wait and camp out in difficult living conditions to even have a chance at entering the United States, the false promises and the performativity of our elected representatives continues to hurt many people. While they declare their ‘disgust’ and ‘shock’ towards the cruelty of our immigration system, they are the ones who hold the ability to make policy.


Despite everything, there are still ways in which you can help. Here is a list:


Find and call your representatives here


Here are organizations currently aiding Haitian migrants at the border:

Houston Haitans United

World Central Kitchen

Black Freedom Factory

Haitian Bridge Alliance

Jackie Vanegas is your typical Capricorn gal working for Rowdy’s Online Writing Team. When she’s not weeping to Phoebe Bridgers or in an existential crisis, she loves to watch movies, cook, and drink an unhealthy amount of coffee. You can reach out to her via Instagram @jackievan00.