After Del Rio, Calls for Fairer Treatment of Black Migrants
Regardless, the images of agents on horseback drew such a visceral reaction not just from immigration advocates, but also from Black Americans and powerful civil rights organizations like the N.A.A.C.P., that many see this as a moment to effect change.
“The connections have been made for Black people,” said Judith Browne Dianis, the executive director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization. “And accountability requires that the Biden administration act, because all Black people saw it, and we can’t unsee it.”
Even after Mr. Biden condemned the corralling of migrants in Del Rio, his administration sent dozens more deportation flights to Haiti, nearly 8,000 people, according to the Haitian Bridge Alliance, an advocacy group. Many say this makes little sense for a country that the administration has described as having “a political crisis and human rights abuses, serious security concerns” and “a dire economic situation” because of the pandemic. On Saturday, gang members in Haiti kidnapped 17 missionaries.
The response to Del Rio is emblematic of the Biden administration’s approach to border security, which many immigration advocates have said looks nothing like the “humane” immigration system that Mr. Biden promised during last year’s campaign. And the mass deportation of Haitians to a crisis-torn country, advocates say, is all the more disappointing from a president who has prioritized racial equity.
The issue could become a political liability for Democrats going into the 2022 midterm elections, said Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, a political organizing group. Black voter turnout in 2022, she said, will be critical for the Democrats to hold onto their majorities in the House and the Senate.
“It would be a mistake to think that Black Americans are somehow not paying attention to immigration issues,” Ms. Shropshire said, “particularly because the images that we saw are so jarring.”
Over a little more than two weeks last month, about 28,000 migrants crossed the border illegally into Del Rio, coming in large groups across the Rio Grande and overwhelming the Border Patrol.