BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KERO) — Haiti has become unfamiliar to its residents after the assassination of the country's president, the aftermath of a large earthquakes destruction, and violence - causing thousands of Haitians to travel to the U.S. border to seek refuge.
Thousands of migrants attempting to cross over into the U.S. have been deported back to Haiti and other countries and at the border are seen on video being chased down by officers. The footage has disturbed many advocates right here in Bakersfield who say its unacceptable.
Daulton Jones, with local organization People's Budget Bakersfield says he is not surprised it's happening.
“I think everybody regardless of who you are and what you come from is pretty alarmed by all of that," Jones said.
Eaton and Associates Immigration Law Specialist Win Eaton says under the law, it's not right.
"That’s not permitted under any system law or directive with homeland security or otherwise, so those individual officers need and must be held to account," Eaton said.
"The Biden administration is just doing the exact same thing Trump would have done with nicer words," Jones said.
The Biden administration has relied on public health law, Title 42, to remove Hatians from the border, denying them the opportunity to seek asylum.
"Title 42 was never intended for this use it was designed to specifically to prevent individuals who had known issues and could spread disease in the United States, those people could be excluded," Eaton said.
The law was created under the Trump administration during the early days of the pandemic. According to Title 42, section 265k if there was a health risk, the law was intended to: “Help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into border facilities and into the United States, persons subject to the order will not be held in congregate areas for processing and instead will immediately be expelled to their country of last transit.”
But Eaton says with the accessibility of the COVID-19 vaccine, the answer to this is to vaccinate migrants, not force them from seeking help.
"The administration needs to reevaluate this policy," Eaton said.
Jones says People's Budget Bakersfield is focused on sending resources to help migrants.
“I think we should be watching what is going on and doing everything in our powers not just organizations and not just as coalitions but as like regular human individuals like how can we help our brothers and sisters because like those Haitian folks, people from Mexico and other Central American places, all of those people are our people, and if you choose to ignore that you are the problem," Jones said.
With Mexico's support, thousands of Haitians and other migrants have been removed from an encampment made at the border. Democrats are urging the Biden administration to end its use of a pandemic-era authority.