A three-decade-old clip of US President Joe Biden says it “wouldn’t matter” if Haiti sank as his administration faces a backlash to deal with an influx of Haitian migrants.
The comment was made by Mr Biden during an interview in 1994 PBS When he was a Senator from Delaware.
Mr Biden was asked whether then-President Bill Clinton would invade Haiti against the democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after the 1991 military coup.
He replied: “If Haiti, a god awful thing, if Haiti quietly sank into the Caribbean or rose 300 feet, it wouldn’t matter much to our interest.”
The video is years old, but it was shared widely this week after thousands of Haitian migrants were forcibly deported back home while camping in the city of Del Rio near the US-Mexico border.
The White House faced backlash after video that showed mounted border security officers maneuvering and whipping migrants trying to cross the border is a tactic compared to the dark history of America’s slave patrols .
Democrats have called on the Biden administration to end the use of the Trump-era immigration rule “Title 42” to deport migrants without giving them the opportunity to seek asylum. Despite the criticism, the administration has deported more than 12,000 Haitians who have gathered at the border.
The deportations come at a time when Haiti is struggling to recover from the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in mid-August that killed more than 2,200 people.
But at the same time, many Haitian migrants camping in the border city of Del Rio are being released into the US in an effort to clear the camp under the international bridge between Mexico and the US.
There were more than 14,000 people in the camp over the weekend. On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said during a visit to Del Rio that the most recent tally at the camp was about 8,600 migrants.
It is unclear who has been deported back to Haiti and who has been released to the US, although officials said single adults were given priority for the evacuation flights. People who are deemed vulnerable, including pregnant women, families with young children, and medical problems, are more likely to be released in the US.
Attacking the treatment of migrants, Vice President Kamala Harris said on Tuesday: “What I saw was the men on horseback who treated them with humans, it was horrific. I fully support what’s happening right now, which is a thorough investigation into what’s going on out there, but humans should never be treated like this, and I’m deeply disturbed by it.”
Ms Harris said she would be in contact with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyerkas.
On Monday, Mr Meyerkas warned people from entering the US illegally, saying: “If you enter the United States illegally, you will be turned back, your trip will not be successful, and You will put your life and that of your family in danger.”
Republicans have also stepped up their attacks on the president, accusing him of tricking Haitians into believing they will find asylum in America.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Joe Biden