October 18, 2021
Pressley Statement on Civil Rights Complaint Filed by Haitian Families Against DHS
BOSTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Co-Chair of the House Haiti Caucus, issued the following statement on the civil rights complaint filed by Haitian families demanding a federal investigation into the heinous actions perpetrated by federal officials at the border.
“The allegations outlined in this complaint are deeply disturbing and underscore the need for a full investigation into the cruel and inhumane treatment of Haitian migrants by DHS. Haitian lives are Black lives and if we truly believe that Black Lives Matter, then there must be accountability. We should be leading with compassion, not cruelty.”
Last month, Rep. Pressley joined her colleagues on the House Oversight Committee in demanding answers regarding the inhumane treatment of migrants in Del Rio, Texas, by Border Patrol agents on horseback and pushing to Biden Administration to end the ongoing use and weaponization of Title 42.
In September, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07) led 54 of their colleagues on a letter calling on the Biden Administration to immediately halt deportations to Haiti and provide humanitarian parole protections for those seeking asylum. The lawmakers’ letter followed the Administration’s resumption of deportation flights to Haiti as thousands of Haitian migrants continue to await an opportunity to make an asylum claim at the border.
Massachusetts is home to the third largest Haitian diaspora community in the country, with approximately 46,000 Haitians and Haitian-Americans living across the state and over half in the Boston metropolitan area. Additionally, Massachusetts is home to more than 4,700 Haitians with Temporary Protected Status.
In May, on Haitian Flag Day, Reps. Pressley, Levin, Clarke and Demings announced the formation of the House Haiti Caucus, a Congressional caucus dedicated to pursuing a just foreign policy that puts the needs and aspirations of the Haitian people first.
In July, the lawmakers issued a statement condemning the assassination of President Moïse and calling for swift and decisive action to bring political stability and peace to Haiti and the Haitian people. Later that month, the lawmakers wrote to DHS Secretary Mayorkas calling on him to take a series of steps to support the Haitian diaspora following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.