New York Democrats are blasting the Biden White House as failing to right the ship on immigration after four years under Donald Trump.
Their anger follows dramatic scenes at the southern border of Haitians being confronted by border agents on horseback.
“What we've all witnessed was horrific,” said Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. “It was not in keeping with what this administration has purported itself to be.”
The Biden administration is relying on a pandemic-era policy instituted by the Trump administration to expel many of those migrants to Haiti, without a chance to seek asylum.
Congressman Mondaire Jones, who represents Rockland and Westchester Counties, has called for the Biden White House to stop those expulsions.
“After four years of xenophobic rhetoric and policy from the prior administration, the American people elected Joe Biden to restore humanity, dignity and respect for international human rights law to our immigration system,” he said. “So far his presidency has failed to accomplish that.”
Several New York congressional lawmakers attended a meeting at the White House this week, voicing their concerns about the situation on the border.
“We have asked for the stopping of deportation, the processing of the families, and that there be a public accounting of the behavior of the Border Patrol,” Clarke said afterward.
The criticism extends beyond Congress. On Thursday morning, news broke that the U.S. special envoy to Haiti had resigned over the expulsions, labeling it “inhumane” to send the migrants to the island given the current conditions on the ground there.
The White House in response pointed to a broken immigration system, arguing it needs fixing.
“It is our objective to continue to implement what is law and what our laws are, and that includes border restrictions,” White House Press Sec. Jen Psaki said Thursday.
But with Haiti in a state of upheaval following a political assassination and an earthquake, several New Yorkers say now is a time to extend a hand of help.
“It is simply inhumane to turn our backs on them,” Rep. Adriano Espaillat said.