Chicago's Haitian community saddened, concerned over migrants' mistreatment at US-Mexico border

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some Chicagoans with personal connections to Haiti say they are feeling the pain of those trying to come to the United States. Two out of every three people being returned to Haiti from the US border are women and children.

"It's sad," said Daphnee Camilien, Haitian American Laywers Association of Illinois. "I can't believe this in the United States of America. You can present yourself a border and ask for asylum and go through the process. They are not even allowing them to do that and it makes you wonder why? Why are the Haitians being treated that way?"

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We are reminded of Chicago's connection to Haiti with every mention of the Du Sable Lake Shore Drive, named for the city's first non-native resident, Haitian American Jean Baptiste Point du Sable.

"We are really not a group who are here to impose on the economy of the United States," said Elsie Hector Hernandez, Haitian American Museum of Chicago. "We are here to fulfill and enhance the economy of the United States."

Some watched the news Thursday that the U.S. envoy to Haiti resigned to protest the treatment of Haitians at the border.

"Hopefully we can do better and welcome our neighbor, because Haiti is our neighbor," said Daphnee Rene Antoine, Compassion for Transformation.

Late Saturday, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul led a coalition of 17 attorneys general sending a letter to President Biden expressing concern about the treatment of Haitians seeking asylum.

"We are summarily repatriating Haitians before any such interview can take place," Raoul said. "And I think that's discriminatory, unfair, un-American and inhumane."

On Sunday, a coalition of local Haitian Americans will hold a press conference and rally at 2:30 p.m. at Federal Plaza. They hope their voices will be heard in Washington and at the border.
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