MIAMI | Archbishop Thomas Wenski has asked the head of homeland security to stop deporting Haitian immigrants, citing moral and legal grounds.
Expulsion would force Haitians back to a land of “political instability and civil unrest, economic stagnation, food insecurity, and the aftermath of natural disasters,” Archbishop Wenski wrote in an open letter to Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of homeland security.
His 1,000-word letter was addressed not only to Mayorkas but to Anthony Blinken, Biden’s secretary of state, and Monty Wilkins, acting U.S. attorney general. It was his second letter on the subject. In June, he wrote to the previous administration on the Haitians’ behalf.
In the Feb. 26, 2021 letter, Archbishop Wenski said that Haitians are being deported in defiance of an executive order by President Biden, and in spite of Biden’s pledge to take a more humane approach to immigrants and refugees.
The archbishop, who has served and fought for Haitians over nearly all of his nearly 45 years in the priesthood, noted that 200,000 of them live in the Archdiocese of Miami — the largest Haitian community in the nation. He added that the New York and Boston areas have large Haitian sectors also.
In south Florida, the Haitians are more than mere refugees, Archbishop Wenski said. “They are members of our parishes and enrolled in our schools. They are also essential workers, supporting our nation during this difficult time and contributing to its recovery.”
The archbishop argued that expulsion would also worsen the COVID pandemic in Haiti, known for years as the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
“Healthcare infrastructure in Haiti is fragile and ill-equipped to accommodate large numbers of people at once, especially those in need of intensive care,” he said.
He also denounced expulsion to Mexico, as the U.S. has tried with some Haitian families. Not only do they face the same dangers as others in refugee camps there, but they have the added handicaps of their race and their inability to speak Spanish. “This leaves them isolated and ripe for exploitation in a region struggling with criminal enterprises, corruption, and human rights abuses,” Archbishop Wenski said.
He called for a more permanent resolution than Temporary Protected Status, which can be canceled and lead to deportation. What is needed, he wrote, “is how to best care for Haitians here in the United States, while balancing public health and safety concerns with our country’s legal and moral obligations.”
The archbishop offered to discuss the situation himself with the federal officials or their representatives.
To read the entire letter, go to: http://bit.ly/miami_wenski_haitians_deportation.