Some New Yorkers had strong reactions after President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday that his administration will immediately begin turning away Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
"It’s always the Black and brown countries who contribute to this government that gets the bottom end of the stick,” said Johane Gracia, resident in the part of East Flatbush known as Little Haiti.
“I’m not surprised that they’re not being helped out. You have other countries and they have received aid, they have received plenty of asylum and help,” she continued.
What You Need To Know
- Biden said his administration will immediately begin turning away Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans who cross the border illegally.
- The administration says it will accept 30,000 people per month from the four nations for two years and offer the ability to work, as long as they come legally, have eligible sponsors and pass background checks
- New York immigrants from Haiti feel the country never gets the backing or respect it fully deserves
- The new policy could result in 360,000 people legally arriving in the U.S. from those four countries in a year
Gracia was born in Haiti and migrated to America with her family when she was just six years old. She and others we spoke with feel Haiti never gets the backing or respect it fully deserves.
“All immigrants should be open to the U.S. because immigrants built America and America was built by immigrants,” said Julian Brown, an immigrant from Jamaica.
The administration, saying it will accept 30,000 people per month from the four nations for two years and offer the ability to work, as long as they come legally, have eligible sponsors and pass background checks. Mayor Eric Adams praised Biden’s announcement.
“While details are still emerging, this federal action is a short-term step to address this humanitarian crisis and humanely manage the flow of border crossings. But a long-term and proactive strategy is still needed, which includes Congress both passing legislation that will allow asylum seekers to legally work and providing emergency financial relief for our city,” said Adams
Many immigration rights advocates across the city spoke out about the change in policy. Murad Awawdeh with the New York Immigration Coalition said Biden’s announcement further diminishes the country’s asylum and moral obligations.
“No one leaves their home because they feel safe,” said Awawdeh, the executive director of the immigrant advocacy group.
“We’re asking for the federal all the way down to our local government to think about what is it that we could be doing,” he added. “We are known as the city that helps people when they are down and out, right?”
For Gracia, she said the policy announcement gives her no confidence in the federal government for asylum seekers, but she’s hopeful one day her native county will bounce back.
“I don’t think Haiti will be helped the way it needs to through the American government, but I know one thing about our people: when we tired, we will rise up,” said Gracia.
The new policy could result in 360,000 people legally arriving in the US from those four countries in a year.