Office of Government Relations

A Statement on the Situation in Del Rio

September 22, 2021
Office of Government Relations

The situation in Del Rio on the United States-Mexico border with an estimated 14,000 migrants, mostly from Haiti, is a jarring manifestation of economic, human rights, environmental, and migration crises. The U.S. response is deeply problematic – the use of cruel and inhumane enforcement by border patrol agents on horseback reveals inexcusable racist dynamics at play. The Episcopal Church decries the treatment of these migrants in Del Rio and denounces racism both explicit and systemic, just as we urge for broader changes to international assistance and immigration policy.

Haiti is in the midst of security, governance, and economic crises, and as a result, the government is not equipped to receive large numbers of Haitians. This is indeed justification for the Biden Administration rightfully redesignating Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in the U.S. and a reason why Haitians should not be sent to an unstable and insecure environment right now. Indeed, many of the Haitians who recently crossed the border left Haiti more than a decade ago, following the 2010 earthquake, and thus are not well equipped to return. Migrants with viable asylum claims should have the ability to access protection at the border and the rapid expulsions of Haitians to Haiti under Title 42 is not acceptable.

Our asylum system is not designed to grant status to those who are fleeing economic hardship, and indeed, economic migrants around the world often struggle to find opportunities to make a living and provide for their families. For this reason, and for other shortcomings of our outdated immigration system, we continue to call for comprehensive immigration reform that reimagines immigration with compassion and a humanitarian lens while still acknowledging the need for secure borders. This would include respecting the right to asylum as required by domestic and international laws.

Finally, when considering the root causes of migration and the role the U.S. plays in these causes, we call for a revamping of U.S. foreign policy including particular changes to the country’s engagement with Haiti. To this end, we joined this Joint Statement on Haiti that emphasizes the need for Haitian-led solutions to governance, security, and disaster response, and are engaging in regular meetings with U.S. government officials about the situation on the ground in Haiti. In particular, we encourage attention to and support of the work of the Commission for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis, which has been working for months to create a pathway forward for governance and build a consensus within Haiti.

Take action

Share this joint statement with your members of Congress.

If your church is engaged in direct ministry in Haiti, consider signing this pledge for new minimum standards of engagement.

Write your members of Congress about comprehensive immigration reform.

The Office of Government Relations