ATHENS, West Virginia — Migration is the movement of people from one country, place or locality to another. Oftentimes, migration offers people economic opportunities through work or education. Other reasons why someone would emigrate or seek asylum in another country are to escape conflict, terrorism, human rights violations and environmental factors, such as climate change or natural disasters. The U.N. Migration Agency (IOM) states that a migrant is “any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a State away from his/her habitual place of residence.” This is true regardless of legal status, whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary, the reason for the movement and the length of the stay.
The United States’ Immigration Policy
The United States allows individuals to seek asylum upon arriving in the U.S. This is despite the fact that they may arrive without inspection or prior authorization. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is required to conduct screenings to determine an individual’s need for protection. If an asylum seeker does not need protection, the CBP is allowed to expel or deport them.
After the influx of Haitians seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico Southern border, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security deported 1,400 migrants. It conducted 12 deportations flights to Haiti since September 19. Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, has claimed that the U.S. expulsions may have violated international law. He “urged the United States to lift its Title 42 health-related restrictions.” Grandi said that the restrictions “deny most people arriving at the southwest U.S. land border any opportunity to request asylum.”
What Is Title 42?
Title 42 allows U.S. authorities to block people from applying for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. It is based on a “75-year-old public health law,” the Public Health Service Act of 1944. The measure allows health authorities to demand individuals, including U.S. citizens, who are arriving from a foreign country to quarantine. Title 42 was a Trump-era immigration policy to limit the spread of COVID-19 and it was enacted in March 2020.
Under the Biden administration, there have been attempts to abolish Trump-era immigration policies; however, the current administration has maintained Title 42 while waiving it for unaccompanied children and some migrant families without issuing clear criteria on which families can expect such waivers. However, on September 16, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that Title 42 could no longer be used to expel migrants.
Solutions To Improve Migration Management
The Biden administration plans to improve migration management. The Washington Office on Latin America‘s (WOLA) Maureen Meyer and Adam Isacson provided straightforward steps the White House should take to issue new asylum and detention reform. One step, for example, is increasing capacities for evaluating asylum claims to meet the high numbers of migrants attempting to seek asylum at the U.S. Southern border. There have been calls to end Title 42 with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants providing an email template. The template allows U.S. constituents to call on the Biden administration to end the use of Title 42.
The History of Haiti
Located in the Caribbean, Haiti occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola. Haiti has suffered genocide, exploitation and instability due to its turbulent history of regime changes and attempted coups, most notably from the French, who arrived in the 17th century and imported Africans for slave labor. From 1791 to 1804, Haiti revolted against the French and gained its independence in 1804.
Recently, Haiti has suffered from natural disasters such as the earthquake on January 12, 2010, which killed 300,000 people, injuring more than 200,000. The aftermath of the earthquake “left 1.5 million people homeless.” Additionally, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on August 14, 2021. It resulted in the deaths of at least 2,248 people and injured 12,763 people.
Due to economic hardship as a result of the pandemic, numerous natural disasters and poverty, Haitians began to migrate to the United States. Many use the U.S.-Mexico Southern border as a point of entry to seek asylum.
Global Poverty and the Influence of Foreign Aid on Migration
Since migration is both a cause and consequence of poverty, it is important to understand why an individual would migrate to another country. Haitians seek asylum or citizenship as a result of poverty, economic opportunities, education, family, natural disasters, government corruption, violence and human rights violations. Thus, the influx of Haitian migrants is understandable.
Foreign aid refers to “the international transfer of capital, goods or services from a country or international organization for the benefit of the recipient country or its population.” The funding provided helps to support the development, health, stability and growth of other regions and countries across the globe. Improving the quality of life in developing countries through foreign aid does not automatically dissuade individuals from migrating.
There has been new research from the Center of Global Development (CGD), which found that when the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita increases, so does the net emigration rates in developing countries. This is not a reason to cut foreign aid to developing countries. According to Michael Clemens, director of Migration, Displacement and Humanitarian Policy at CGD, foreign aid “helps other countries prevent humanitarian disasters, fight pandemic disease and engage with the world economy.” Providing foreign aid is mutually beneficial. It helps with disasters in some of the world’s poorest countries and maintains the U.S.’ reputation among our allies and the World.
– Grace Watson