Meeks Calls for Fresh Perspective on Haiti

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Contact: Sheryl Huggins Salomon, mcsilver.comms@nyu.edu

NEW YORK —October 21, 2021 — It’s time for the U.S. to move past the policies of the Trump administration towards Haiti, said Representative Gregory W. Meeks (D, NY-05) Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, during an online roundtable discussion Wednesday evening about the federal response to multiple crises affecting Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. While voicing support for the Biden administration, the New York Congress Member said, “It is clear that much of our current practice is a holdover from the previous administration and is in desperate need of a fresh perspective.” He spoke during a program co-hosted by The Haitian Roundtable (HRT), the NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, and the Greater New York (NY) Chapter of The Links, Inc. 

During the event, titled “Haiti: Where Do We Go From Here?” Chairman Meeks answered questions about America’s response to the aftermaths of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and the deadly earthquake in August; the treatment of Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border; actions to protect free and fair elections in Haiti; and what can be done to ensure trade policies and aid help and do not hinder the nation’s recovery.

Back in September, thousands of Haitian migrants were deported from an encampment in Del Rio, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border. Many were sent back to dangerous and unstable conditions in Haiti, including those who had not lived there for years. At the time, Rep. Meeks joined Rep. Bennie Thompson (D, MS-02), Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, in a letter urging a “humanitarian moratorium” on the repatriations. However, they continue and yesterday Rep. Meeks  said that the Biden administration should withdraw its appeal of a ruling that would halt Title 42 expulsions of Haitian migrants (and others) on public health grounds, calling them “inhumane and unnecessary.”

Separately, he called for the U.S. Senate to pass the Haiti Development, Accountability, and Institutional Transparency Initiative Act to bring greater accountability and transparency to the process of aid and development in Haiti. Hear what else he had to say in a recording of the roundtable discussion.

The discussion was moderated by HRT Board Member Alain Leroy, and with individual questions posed by members of HRT’s Board: Rodney Leon, Ray Leveque, Claudel Seide, Dina Simon and Herve Vixamar. An audience Q&A session followed.

About The Haitian Roundtable

The Haitian Roundtable (“HRT”), founded in 2008, is a not-for-profit organization of Haitian-American professionals committed to civic engagement and strategic initiatives benefiting the Haitian community. The organization seeks to heighten awareness of Haitians as an important constituency among thought leaders and newsmakers, policymakers and institutions through partnerships, programs and events recognizing Haitian excellence. 

About the NYU McSilver Institute

The NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research committed to creating new knowledge about the root causes of poverty, developing evidence-based interventions to address its consequences, and rapidly translating research findings into action through policy and best practices. Learn more at mcsilver.nyu.edu and sign up for updates.

About the Greater New York (NY) Chapter of The Links, Inc.

The Links, Incorporated, is one of the nation’s oldest and largest women’s volunteer service organizations, dedicated to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. The Greater New York Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, founded in 1949, is dedicated to supporting programs that enhance the well-being of families and senior citizens in the New York City area.