U.S. Communists denounce violent deportations of Haitian refugees
An armed U.S. soldier guards a border gate as a bus hauls away migrants, mostly from Haiti, from the International Bridge where thousands have formed a makeshift camp, Sept. 19, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. The U.S. rounded up Haitians camped in the Texas border town back Sunday and tried blocking others from crossing the border from Mexico in a massive show of force that signaled the beginning of what could be one of America's swiftest, large-scale expulsions of migrants or refugees in decades. | Eric Gay / AP

The Communist Party USA is adding its voice to the widespread denunciation of the U.S. Border Patrol’s violent attacks on Haitian refugees at the border and the Biden administration’s mass deportations.

In a statement released Wednesday, the party slammed the “notoriously pro-Trump border control cops” who were photographed on horseback last weekend brandishing whips against Haitians seeking asylum in the U.S. The Communists’ statement is one among many from labor and civil rights leaders that also hammers Biden’s government for enforcing immigration policy left over from the Trump White House.

The CPUSA put the “ugly racist incident” at the border within the larger context of Biden stepping up the expulsion of thousands of Haitian migrants under the pretext of epidemic management measures found in Article 42 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations—a tactic initiated by the previous administration.

Planeloads of deported Haitians continue to be dumped out at the main airport in Port-au-Prince with little to no chance ever given to officially apply for asylum in the U.S., as required under both U.S. and international law.

The use of coronavirus as an excuse for the deportations was criticized by the Communist Party as “callous, opportunistic, and at best hypocritical.” Referring to the president’s appearance at the United Nations the day before, the statement said that “you cannot make lofty speeches about our shared humanity and ‘values’ while at the same time loading asylum-seeking Black Haitians onto hell-bound flights to where they were trying to escape.”

The economic and political situation in Haiti is currently one of chaos and desperation. The island has been battered by severe storms in recent weeks, and a deadly earthquake this summer killed over 2,000 people and made tens of thousands more homeless. Political instability threatens to unleash major violence and conflict there, especially in the wake of the assassination of the dictator, Jovenel Möise, in July and the intervention of U.S. forces.

The Communist Party USA is denouncing the violence at the border against Haitian refugees and the mass deportations that have followed. | CPUSA via Twitter

The still unresolved damage of the massive 2010 earthquake and the spiraling COVID-19 pandemic combine with all of the above to create a crisis of unprecedented proportions in Haiti. But U.S. immigration officials appear determined to send thousands of Haitian families right back into it.

Even without the acute dangers now confronting Haiti, the country was already suffering from more than a century of interference and periodic occupation by imperial powers that kept it underdeveloped and poor. In 1804, slaves in Haiti rose up and overthrew French slaveowners and colonial officials, forcing them off the island. The slave-owning class in the U.S. feared the example set by Haiti might provide inspiration to slaves in the U.S. and provided aid to the failed French effort to put down the rebellion.

Racism and subordination defined U.S.-Haiti relations from then onward. For a period of twenty years in the earlier part of the last century, the U.S. military directly occupied Haiti, handing over control of its economy to big U.S.-based banks and corporations—setting a precedent for economic domination that continues to the current day.

For decades, the United States propped up murderous dictators in Haiti, like “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his son, “Baby Doc.” It has engineered coups and right-wing takeovers at various times and left Haitians who are able little option but to attempt migration.

The Communist Party raised this history of U.S. policy in its statement, calling the incident at the border and the mass deportations this week “part of a long trajectory of abusive behavior toward Haiti by U.S. (and also French and Canadian) imperialism.” The latter two have played prominent roles in militarized U.N. “peacekeeping” deployments in Haiti over the years.

Saying that more needs to be done “beyond tweaking immigration policies and punishing a few exceptionally racist and brutal officers,” the CPUSA demanded that the deportations be halted and that U.S. border policing and immigration and asylum policies be totally overhauled.

After being detained, Haitian refugees await their inevitable deportation in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 19, 2021. | Eric Gay / AP

It also called for a stepped-up fight in Congress for comprehensive immigration reform with a clear path to citizenship—a policy stripped from the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill by the Senate parliamentarian last week.

The Communists set their sights beyond the reform of domestic U.S. policy, however, and argued for a “complete reset” of U.S. foreign and international trade policies as well. They heavily criticized the U.S.’ reliance on sanctions, election interference, neoliberal “free trade” agreements, and military force in its dealings with other countries.

The party is pushing its members to besiege the White House, State Department, and Congress with phone calls and emails demanding an end to the border violence and mass refugee expulsions. Members and supporters will also be initiating and taking part in protests and demonstrations across the country, with CPUSA co-chair Joe Sims saying, “It’s time to put on our marching shoes!”

The full statement by the Communist Party USA can be read here.


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C.J. Atkins
C.J. Atkins

C.J. Atkins is the managing editor at People's World. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from York University in Toronto and has a research and teaching background in political economy and the politics and ideas of the American left. In addition to his work at People's World, C.J. currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director of ProudPolitics.