Commentary: President Biden Must Not Encourage Illegal Mass Migration from Haiti

Haitians on Boat
by Senator Marco Rubio


“It’s better to be the United States’ enemy than its friend.” Foreign officials tell me this is their perception under the Biden Administration, which has a strange habit of appeasing our adversaries while holding our allies to impossible standards. It’s bad foreign policy, plain and simple. Moreover, it’s encouraging chaos in our region.

Just look at what’s happening in the Dominican Republic. The Caribbean nation is facing extraordinary migratory pressure from neighboring Haiti, which has all but collapsed into anarchy. President Luis Abinader has made it clear he will protect Dominican sovereignty by enforcing deportations. Yet the Biden Administration, influenced by radical left-wing groups like Amnesty International, is pushing him to accept three million Haitians at any moment.

This is unfair to the D.R., which is a developing nation with limited resources, and which is already bearing significant burdens on Haiti’s behalf. Anyone who doubts this should consider the fact that more than a third of all births in the D.R. are currently to Haitian citizens.

But encouraging illegal mass migration is also unfair to our country. The Biden Administration seems unaware that many Haitians view the D.R. as a stepping stone to Puerto Rico—and that a well-established smuggling ring to facilitate that journey already exists. Because our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico have their own fiscal constraints, illegal migrants that reach the U.S. territory would likely move on to the continental United States.

Like most Americans, I recognize that what is happening in Haiti is horrible and tragic. The breakdown of law and order, the displacement of more than 300,000 people, and the need of roughly five million for some form of aid—all of these are matters of grave concern. This is why I support the international peacekeeping mission that Kenya proposes to lead once Haiti has established a provisional government. In addition, I have reintroduced legislation to preserve U.S. trade benefits for Haitian manufacturers, which could prove a lifeline to legitimate Haitian businesses in this time of crisis.

But, like most Americans, I also recognize that no country should experience illegal mass migration—not the D.R., and not the United States. Illegal mass migration does no good for the nation people are migrating from. When all able-bodied, law-abiding citizens leave their homeland, there is no one left to defend it from criminals and tyrants—and no one left to provide for the vulnerable who remain there. On a more fundamental level, though, I cannot support illegal mass migration because the job of elected officials is to protect their citizens first, not anyone else’s.

This is why I have asked the U.S. State Department to prioritize U.S. citizens trapped in Haiti, as well as their adopted Haitian children. Moreover, it’s why we cannot allow Haitian citizens to surge across our borders. As U.S. Senator Rick Scott and I noted in a recent letter to President Biden, Haiti is rife with gangs, and jailbreaks have allegedly released thousands of dangerous criminals. This means illegal mass migration from Haiti would put Americans at risk.

Since President Biden took office, more than eight million people have crossed our insecure southern border, and 90,000 have immigrated from Afghanistan un-vetted. The resultant threats to our national security—from the rise of Tren de Aragua to the infiltration of Islamist terrorists—are severe and out of control. The tragedy in Haiti is great, but it’s no excuse for letting these threats increase.

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Marco Rubio is a U.S. Senator from Florida. The views expressed are the author’s own.






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