Federal Response to Haitian Migrants Held in Squalor Under Border Bridge

Immigrant Rights, Racial Justice

Haitian Migrants Held in Squalid Conditions Under Border Bridge See Progress in Federal Investigation

Haitian Americans United and forty-eight Haitian migrants who were unlawfully confined by federal immigration officials under a bridge near Del Rio, Texas, have received a formal response to their civil rights complaint from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). On February 2, 2023, DHS notified the Haitian migrants that the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) has recommended new policies and procedures to help avoid a similar crisis from erupting in the future. The recommendations focus on: 

●      The identification of medical needs and at-risk populations;

●      Enhanced language access;

●      Nondiscrimination training; and

●      A review of the deployment of Horse Patrol Units. 

At the height of the Haitian border crisis, the use of horseback patrols was reminiscent of chattel slavery and “has been found to be an unnecessary use of force and contrary to Customs and Border Patrol policy.” CRCL’s recommendations with respect to the horseback units specifically include assessing the need for additional training and/or a specialized unit to conduct non-routine tasks such as crowd control in urban environments. 

Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) is providing free legal support to Haitian Americans United and all affected migrants who were held under the border bridge in squalid and inhumane conditions. LCR and HAU will now focus on the implementation and enforcement of the recommendations they have secured.

LCR’s and HAU’s civil rights complaint is available here.

The response to the complaint is available here: