AFT Leaders Troubled by Haitian Refugee Crisis, Urge Humanitarian Action
Sarah Hager Mosby
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick C. Ingram and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus released the following statement after days of inhumane treatment of Haitian asylum-seekers at the Texas border:
“As a country, we have a moral responsibility to welcome refugees and to treat them with dignity and respect. The pictures we have seen at the border display the opposite and suggest a humanitarian crisis that requires immediate intervention. As educators, healthcare professionals, public employees and human beings, we are distressed by the images of border patrol officers on horseback using whips to corral Haitian refugees. And we are concerned about mass deportations of desperate Haitians seeking peace and safety amid political turmoil and devastating earthquakes in their home.
“As a nation, we have both a moral responsibility and a legal responsibility under international law to ensure the protection, safety and well-being of refugees. Just as we opened our border to Afghans and opened our hearts to Cubans, we must open our arms to our Haitian neighbors. Let’s live up to the promise of America and reaffirm that immigrants are welcomed here.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.