FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Co-counsel in Haitian Bridge Alliance v. Biden, seeking justice for the more than 15,000 Haitian asylum seekers abused in Del Rio, Texas in September 2021 have filed an opposition in response to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) motion to dismiss their federal class action lawsuit. This filing follows the release of a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “Report of Investigation” that deliberately excluded any testimony of Haitian victims or witnesses who offered to share their experience with investigators.
“Once again, the Administration’s actions—including the deportation and expulsion of over 24,000 Haitians since Del Rio alone, including pregnant women and infants—represent a continuation of the anti-Blackness and specifically anti-Haitian animus that pervades our immigration system,” said Guerline Jozef, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Haitian Bridge Alliance. “The horrific pain, suffering, and lifelong trauma that US governments past and present have inflicted and continue to inflict upon Haitians fleeing for their lives must not be ignored. Indeed, the United States has deterred Haitians from seeking safety since the 1970s. The HBA v. Biden legal team will continue to fight alongside our plaintiffs to hold the Administration accountable and ensure that the right to seek asylum be afforded to all people.”
“The Biden Administration professed outrage at government abuse of Haitians in Del Rio, yet has dodged accountability at every turn,” said Lauren Wilfong, Justice Catalyst Fellow at Justice Action Center. “In another attempt to avoid accountability, the government’s motion to dismiss in HBA v. Biden asks the district court to refuse to hear plaintiffs’ case at all. The government does so by ignoring the facts and misstating the law. Our opposition fights back against these continued attempts to erase the voices of Black and Haitian communities harmed by the Biden Administration.”
“Just as the CBP sham investigation deliberately excluded Haitians it harmed from its so-called investigation, the DOJ’s motion ignores the facts presented in the complaint, including the testimony of numerous Haitian plaintiffs detailing the government’s abuse and the inhumane conditions in the Del Rio encampment,” said Stephen Manning, Executive Director at Innovation Law Lab. “This, coupled with the fact that the Administration knew as early as Spring 2021 that large numbers of Haitians would be seeking safety in Del Rio but took none of the necessary preparations for humane and orderly processing afforded to other groups, is abhorrent.”
Co-Counsel in HBA v. Biden are Haitian Bridge Alliance, Innovation Law Lab, and Justice Action Center.