Rights advocates blast Mayorkas for saying U.S. will turn away Haitians, Cubans fleeing crises
“The time is never right to attempt migration by sea,” Mayorkas said. “Al“This shameful message from the U.S. government to offshore its responsibilities for refugee protection is a horrible turning away from the administration’s promised commitment to human rights and racial justice,” said Denise Bell, researcher for refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International USA.low me to be clear: If you take to the sea, you will not come to the U.S.”\
The Biden administration is facing blowback from immigrant rights advocates after Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday that Haitians and Cubans fleeing violent political crises in their countries by boat would not be allowed to enter the U.S., even if they established a credible claim for asylum.
Instead, Mayorkas said, those with credible claims will be relocated to third countries for resettlement.
“The time is never right to attempt migration by sea,” Mayorkas said at a news conference. “Allow me to be clear: If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States.”
Many immigrant rights advocates responded Wednesday by calling on the administration to rethink its position following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and some of the largest Cuban street protests in decades.
Mayorkas himself immigrated to the U.S. as a child when his family fled Cuba, an experience he pulled from during his testimony before Congress as he sought confirmation as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
“It is disappointing to see Secretary Mayorkas, himself the son of Cuban refugees, attempting to foreclose that right for Cuban and Haitian nationals when they most need it,” said Efrèn Olivares, deputy legal director for immigrant justice at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Under international and U.S. law, asylum-seekers are allowed to make claims no matter how they enter the country.
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