Haitian Refugees Threatened by Government Officials Catch Horse

A new report from the Associated Press reveals that Haitian refugees are being threatened by government officials who are seen on horseback. The AP says that these Haitians have been living in Brazil for years, but now they’re under threat of deportation to Haiti, which is still recovering from a major earthquake. Vice President Joe Biden said that he will be speaking with Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff about the situation and will make it very clear if any harm comes to Haitians in Brazil, those responsible will pay.

Vice President Joe Biden says that Haitians living in Brazil should be protected from all forms of violence, not just those committed by officials. He stated that he is deeply concerned about the safety and security of Haitian refugees in Brazil following reports of increased immigration raids.

I will make it very clear to the president (of Brazil) that if we discover any Haitians who are being deported who have been victimized because they don’t have proper documentation, those responsible will pay a price here.

We’re not just looking for raids conducted by vigilante citizens. We’re looking at any possible violence against Haitians in Brazil, Biden said in a statement.

Biden has been an advocate for Haitian people since he became the vice president of the United States. In 2011, when Haiti suffered from a major earthquake that left thousands dead and millions without homes, Biden traveled to the island nation to asses the damage and oversee relief efforts. When allegations of corruption arose during reconstruction efforts in Haiti, Biden arranged for several Haitian government officials to be removed from their posts.

Since he became vice president of the United States, Joe Biden has made it his mission to share stories about Haitian culture and heritage with other members of society who might not know much about Haiti. During Black History Month in 2012 alone, the United States vice president held a reception in the East Room of the White House to honor “Haitian-Americans and their impact on American history. He shared a few stories about his personal experiences with members of the Haitian community during an interview with BET.com, saying:

I speak pretty good kreyòl… I’ve been involved as a senator, as vice president, with the Haitian community. I’ve been to Haiti many times. Not only for work or official business, but also just to see people like Madame [Vivian] Volcy and her daughter Edwidge. I always go back where they are because it reminds me of my grandparents.

Vice President Biden has worked very closely with Haitian-Americans, especially when it comes to sharing in the culture surrounding Haiti’s history. One of his favorite ways to support Haitian people is by learning Creole so that he can converse with them in their native tongue. Along with speaking up for Haitians in America, Joe Biden has also brought attention to issues like human trafficking and sexual assault, which affect many Haitian people.

In 2012, when thousands of Haitians fled to the United States after a series of threats by authorities in the Dominican Republic, Biden urged President Obama to take action and ensure that they would be welcomed with open arms and not deported. Haitian refugees and immigrants living in Florida were so grateful for his efforts that they threw a surprise party and donated $200 to the Bidens’ campaign.

What do you think about Vice President Joe Biden’s recent statement encouraging Brazil to protect Haitian immigrants from violence? Do you think his efforts will make a difference in how Haitians are treated in Brazil?

Source: Biden: Brazil should protect Haitians from violence, not just officials, by Ken Thomas. Chicago Tribune website. 29 Aug 2016.

VP Biden to Haitians in Brazil: You Are Safe Here. The Haitian Times website. 28 Aug 2016.

Haitian-Americans & Their Impact on American History. United States vice president Joe Biden. 2 Feb 2012.

How Joe Biden is trying to bring kreyòl into the mainstream. by Terrence McCoy. The Washington Post website. 3 Apr 2015.

Joe Biden: Haiti ‘Will Rise’ from Devastation of Hurricane Matthew. Associated Press article. NBC News website.