By Noah Long
On September 23, activists and community members in Phoenix protested outside of a local field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in response to the violent expulsion of Haitian asylum seekers in Del Rio, Texas last week. The protest was directed specifically toward the Biden administration’s use of COVID-19 to justify the repression and deportation of migrants.
Puente Human Rights Movement, a nonprofit mainly centered around immigrant rights and criminal justice issues, organized the protest against Title 42—a clause of the 1944 Public Health Services Law allowing for the government to “prevent the introduction” of individuals during health crises. It was this law that the Biden administration, just like Donald Trump before him, is using to expel immigrants and refugees alike.
Activists and community members held signs with slogans like, “Keep families together,” and “End deportations,” along with a banner from Puente that read, “End the use of Title 42.” Speakers mainly focused on the brutality and inhumanity of the deportations, as images of border patrol agents on horseback using their reins to whip Haitian migrants made headlines around the country.
One speaker also alluded to the role of US imperialism as the principal reason driving people from around the world to flee their home countries, saying, “This is what the United States does across central and Latin America, across African Nations, across the Middle East; they go in and destabilize these nations and then they say that ‘you can’t come in.'”
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