This week, we read about a group of legal scholars that called on Senate Democrats for immigration reform as well as repeated discrimination towards Haitian and Black migrants.

92 legal scholars call on Harris to preside over Senate to include immigration in reconciliation 

Nearly 100 legal scholars addressed the Vice President and Senate Democrats to fight for immigration protections. This comes after Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled against including the protections in a recent budget reconciliation bill.  

MacDonough ruled against including the proposed protections because she deemed it to be against the rules of budget reconciliation bills. The changes would have allowed for nearly 8 million immigrants to gain legal permanent residency. 

The scholars suggested the Senate issue a ruling against MacDonough’s advice.  

They argued that there are significant economic benefits to granting status to millions of immigrants. For the appeal to be successful, Senate Democrats would need all 51 votes, requiring Vice President Harris’ support. Yet, certain Democrats believe that they should not overrule MacDonough.  

US immigration policies toward Haitians have long been racist, advocates say 

Disturbing images of Border Patrol agents on horseback swinging reins targeted at Haitian migrants circulated last week. The images went viral, and many expressed concern over the mistreatment of migrants at the border. 

“When Black asylum seekers or Black immigrants are confronted by state power, whether it be the local police on the streets or (federal agents) … they’re confronted in a violent manner on different levels than what we see happening with migrants that are not Black,” said Nana Gyamfi, executive director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration. 

 Many found these images surprising. However, experts say this is indicative of a long history of Black migrants being discriminated against under the U.S. immigration system.  

 There are many reasons so many Haitians are seeking refuge in the U.S. Many left during the devastating earthquake in 2010. In 2021, the country suffered a hunger crisis and a global pandemic. The country’s circumstances have continued to worsen over the summer. The U.S. has acknowledged the worsening conditions for Haitians but haven’t made their immigration process easy. 

Recently, thousands of Haitian migrants arrived in Del Rio. This caught border authorities by surprise. Officials started increasing deportation flights to Haiti to prevent more migrants from coming. Many of them were forced to go back to Haiti without the chance to seek asylum. 

 Experts say recent immigration policies have disproportionately affected Haitians. In fact, more Haitian families were detained by the US than those of any other nationality, according to a Texas nonprofit.  

 “At the end of the day, it’s based upon the racial profiling — the same reasons that we find that African Americans are arrested disproportionately, that they’re charged with higher crimes, that they are sentenced to longer periods,” said Gyamfi. “All of that applies to Black migrants.” 

Experts also say that this mistreatment towards Haitians and Black migrants is historical. Despite the history and ongoing discrimination, Haitians continue to seek refuge in the U.S., wanting to live in a country where their rights are valued and respected.  

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