On Sept.18, thousands of Haitian migrants were captured at the border of Del Rio, Texas. More than 15,000 people were counted under the Del Rio international bridge in makeshift camps. Many attempted to cross onto U.S. soil, while others trekked back to Mexico through the Rio Grande.
The deportation and treatment of Haitian migrants at the Texas border has drawn international attention. Many were provoked by the images of Texas state troopers on horses corralling asylum seekers, including Haitian students at Florida A&M University.
Dream Beauplan, a second-year business administration student at FAMU, is very shocked at the current state of this situation
“I feel this is a very big step back,” Beauplan said. “I feel there is a great abusive power. I feel there is no sympathy towards Haitians. A lot of politicians aren’t even speaking up as many should be and something needs to be done.”
Virlande Tlusme, a third-year biology pre-dental student at FAMU who has family in Haiti, is angered by the treatment of the Haitian migrants at the Texas border.
“What really gets me the most is that they’re coming with everything that they have, but they’re getting whipped in the river,” Tlusme said. “That’s probably the lowest point that they’ve ever been in and no one cares. And the people that were whipping them had smiles on their faces.”
Tlusme also shared her disdain for the way the U.S. government has been handling this situation.
“I feel like the refugees should have received a different treatment because they have nowhere to go,” Tlusme said.
According to USA Today, on Sept. 23, the Department of Homeland Security and White House confirmed the patrols were being stopped for the time being. This came after national outrage called for an investigation of border patrol agents’ tactics to control the refugees.
Although Tlusme has no direct link to any of the current refugees she is still pained as some of her cousins made the same journey. Fortunately, Tlusme’s cousins were able to reunite with family after months of mistreatment in Texas detention centers.
Despite the circumstances, Tlusme expresses her immense pride in her Haitian community and culture.
“It gives me more pride,” Tlusme said. “I feel like I need to go harder. They’re going through that and that was supposed to be me, so I feel like I have to because they don’t give up.”
President Biden’s administration has begun the expulsion process by flying refugees back to their homeland with at least three flights traveling to its capital each day. Some have received asylum in the U.S and others are weighing their options back in Mexico.
Amongst the migrants are families with plenty of children ranging from infancy to young adults. Some have expressed that this situation will affect the next generation of Haitians’ view of the U.S negatively.
“It’s really eye-opening,” Beauplan said. “They are going to have a very different viewpoint on how the U.S operates. It may result in less Haitians wanting to come here. They may choose a different pathway than the U.S. as a source of refuge.”
Tlusme also commented on Haitians’ viewpoint on the American dream.
“Coming from the fact that there was just a huge earthquake [in Haiti] and Biden’s administration is making it hard for them to come here, I feel like they’ll perceive the U.S. in a fearful way,” Tlusme said. “The land of the free is not really the land of the free anymore.”