Juan Gonzalez, the senior director for Western Hemisphere at the U.S. National Security Council, made these comments during a two-day visit to Haiti to meet with local leaders and discuss migration issues.
He said, "I want you to know that it was an injustice, that it wasn't right." "The proud Haitians and all migrant workers deserve dignity."
Recent criticisms of the U.S. government's treatment of Haitian migrants resulted in images featuring men riding on horses, escorting asylum seekers from Haiti.
Gonzalez visited Brian Nichols (U.S. assistant secretary of Western Hemisphere affairs), during ongoing expulsions from the U.S. of Haitians to their homeland. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. has expulsed approximately 4,600 Haitian migrants on 43 flights since Sept. 19.
Gonzalez stated that the influx of migrants at the border is a public emergency and advised those considering leaving to not put their lives at risk.
Gonzalez and Nichols met previously with Haitian Americans, Cuban Americans, and Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Miami on Wednesday, and members of the civil and political leadership in Haiti on Thursday, to discuss migration, public safety and helping those who were affected by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake in the country's south in mid-August.
Nichols stated that they heard many people discuss the challenges Haiti faces and noted that there is a surprising amount of agreement about possible solutions.
He said that there is no solution that will work in Haiti for its people that will be imposed by the outside. This was in reference to criticisms of the U.S. involvement in Haitian affairs, as the country tries to recover after the earthquake and the assassination on July 7 of President Jovenel Moise at his private residence. "But, the United States is committed to giving the Haitian people all the support they need in order to achieve their vision."
Nichols stated that the conversation with the prime Minister was constructive and added that the U.S. encourages consensus and a holistic view.
He stated that Haiti's future depends on its people. The United States will continue to work with Haitians to help them bring security and prosperity back home.
Nichols stated that a technical team of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement would visit Haiti next week to help with gang-related violence. The bureau's assistant secretary will also be visiting the country in the coming weeks. He stated that the undersecretary of civilian security, democracy, and human rights would visit Haiti later in the month to discuss security and police issues.