Guantanamo Bay is Not a Refuge


CONTACT: Bilal Askaryar |

[WASHINGTON] – Shaina Aber, executive director of the Acacia Center for Justice issued the following statement in response to reports that the Biden administration is considering using a detention camp in Guantanamo Bay to detain Haitians fleeing the life-threatening gang violence and state of emergency in the country:

“I am profoundly disappointed that the Biden administration is considering using a military detention center that has become synonymous with U.S. interdictions, torture, undermining the rule of law, to externalize our border and deny people fleeing Haiti access to safety. What message is the Biden administration sending about our responsibilities to protect people fleeing for their lives? This administration began with images of Haitians being whipped by US Border agents on horseback, and now the administration is considering sending Haitians to an extra-constitutional prison for seeking safety.

Haitian people seeking safety have the right to appeal for asylum in the safety of the United States, have effective access to legal assistance, and make their cases before immigration judges. Still, because of the intersection of anti-Black racism and xenophobia, this population of asylum-seeking people consistently receives the worst of our nation’s immigration system — being stopped at sea in maritime interdictions, incarcerated in immigration detention, and now being considered for Guantanamo. If President Biden wants to turn the page on the horrors of the previous administrations’ biased and cruel treatment of people displaced from Haiti, he must avoid taking pages from a xenophobic playbook. We call on President Biden to halt deportations to Haiti, halt interdictions at sea,  extend and redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status, and above all treat people seeking safety with dignity and compassion.”



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About Acacia Center for Justice

Acacia Center for Justice delivers and advocates for meaningful and effective access to justice and freedom for immigrants at risk of detention or deportation in partnership with an accountable, independent nationwide network of immigrant legal service providers and community partners. Acacia Center for Justice’s reach and impact are unparalleled. The national nonprofit currently operates seven federally funded programs and one state funded program through a network of nearly 60 legal service providers located in over 80 offices across the country.