What America Owes Haitian Asylum Seekers
— October 4, 2021
By Michael Posner
Since the adoption of the Refugee Act of 1980, those who arrive at our border or have already entered the country are entitled to seek asylum if they can demonstrate a “well-founded fear of persecution” based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group. This law has roots in the Holocaust and U.S. commitments made after World War II to provide refuge to people fleeing persecution. But the asylum system has been hampered from the outset by political controversy and bureaucratic dysfunction.
Many of the Haitians who camped under the bridge in Del Rio had made multiyear journeys through Latin America and then to our southern border. Some were inspired to try to enter the United States now because of a misimpression that President Biden’s replacement of former President Donald Trump — and the Biden administration’s decision to extend temporary protected status to Haitians already in the country — signaled an opportunity for them to come here, too. Temporary protected status suspends deportations of Haitians already in the United States because of the current instability in their country. Like immigrants from around the world, these Haitians, including the many asylum seekers, are looking for a new home where they will find stability, better jobs and more security than their own country can offer.
Read the full New York Times article.
Michael Posner is a Professor of Business and Society and Director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.