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Boston Cardinal O’Malley calls US treatment of Haitian migrants “shockingly inhumane”



Zelda Caldwell - published on 10/04/21

After an appeal to help Haiti, the Archdiocese of Boston raised $442,000 in earthquake relief.

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley called for a “more compassionate” U.S. policy towards Haitian migrants at the border.

In an appeal published in the Boston Pilot, Cardinal O’Malley wrote that he had visited the island nation two weeks ago, and witnessed first-hand the “great faith and resilience” of the Haitian people in spite of the tragedies they have endured. 

Hardships of the Haitians

He noted that their troubles are three-fold: a political crisis in the wake of the assassination of the President, problems with gang violence, and poverty and dislocation caused by the recent earthquake.

Thousands of migrants, many of whom were Haitians, have in recent weeks gathered at an encampment in Del Rio, Texas. The encampment has since been cleared as U.S. officials deported approximately 4,600 Haitians.

“Shockingly inhumane policy”

While applauding the United States’ commitment to “significant funding” for humanitarian and disaster relief to Haiti, and the extension of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for Haitians, O’Malley called for more humane treatment of Haitians at the border.

“The United States is now carrying out an airlift of Haitian men, women, and children back to Haiti. The decision affecting some 14,000 Haitians now at the Texas border is a surprisingly and shockingly inhumane policy,” wrote O’Malley.

“The Administration has the legal authority for its policy, but the policy is blind to the moral and human consequences of this action. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, is incapable of absorbing this influx of young and older Haitians, all traumatized by the journey to the U.S. border. T

“To be sure, many made this journey under mistaken assumptions about U.S. policy. But this fact does not absolve our country’s policy choices. Some cases of human suffering are sufficiently overwhelming to change the logic of existing policy. In this case, there is the need for a review and recasting of U.S. policy. The airlift should be halted while this review is conducted. Only then will it be possible to shape a short-term policy worthy of the U.S. role in the world and appropriate for the crisis Haitians now face,” he wrote.

Appeal for help

The Archdiocese of Boson reported that its parishes have raised $442,000 through a special collection in late August for earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. The money supports relief efforts operated by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the Catholic Church in Haiti.

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