Immigrant justice advocates are warning of a humanitarian crisis on the U.S. southern border as over 10,000 Haitian asylum seekers have been sleeping in a makeshift camp underneath a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, for days. They recently crossed the Rio Grande after trekking for thousands of miles through dangerous routes across South and Central America and Mexico.
This comes as advocates are denouncing the Biden administration for resuming deportation flights to Haiti as the country is still reeling from last month’s catastrophic earthquake, which left thousands without water, food, shelter and medicine. The U.S. deported some 86 Haitian asylum seekers Wednesday, including families and children under the age of 3.
In a statement, Guerline Jozef, the co-founder of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, said, “We are in utter disbelief … Hours after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, President Joe Biden released a statement saying that the United States was a 'friend' of Haiti. A 'friend' does not continuously inflict pain on another friend.”
Political turmoil in Haiti is growing after Prime Minister Ariel Henry replaced the country’s justice minister Thursday, just days after firing a top public prosecutor who sought to charge Henry in connection with the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. The prosecutor, who also sought to prevent Henry from leaving Haiti, said the prime minister had communicated with a key suspect on the night Moïse was killed. On Wednesday, the head of Haiti’s Council of Ministers resigned in response to the prosecutor’s firing.
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing Title 42 — a Trump-era policy that allows immigration authorities to expel asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border without due process, citing the pandemic as justification. The court’s order takes effect in 14 days. It’s a landmark victory for the American Civil Liberties Union and several immigrant rights groups who condemned Title 42 as “cruel and lawless.”
The World Meteorological Organization warns in a new report that governments are falling far short of the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The U.N. weather agency says only immediate, large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can avert a global catastrophe. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said Thursday that humanity’s “future is at stake” at the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, known as COP26.
Secretary-General António Guterres: “We continue to destroy the things on which we depend for life on Earth. Ice caps and glaciers continue to melt, sea level rise is accelerating, the ocean is dying, and biodiversity is collapsing. … We really are out of time. We must act now to prevent further, irreversible damage. COP26 this November must mark the turning point. By then, we need all countries to commit to achieve net zero emissions by the middle of this century and to present clear, credible, long-term strategies to get there.”
A new report by the World Bank warns that without urgent action, the climate crisis could force 216 million people to leave their homes by 2050. Most of the migration will be driven by water scarcity, decreasing crop productivity and rising sea levels.
The United States reported more than 3,400 COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, while confirming more than 150,000 new coronavirus infections. One in four U.S. hospitals report their intensive care units are at or near capacity. In Idaho, overwhelmed hospitals on Thursday announced they were adopting “crisis standards of care” to ration healthcare. That means some people in need of limited resources like ICU beds, ventilators and supplemental oxygen may be denied care in favor of other patients deemed more likely to survive.
The Biden administration is defending its newly announced trilateral security pact with the United Kingdom and Australia, calling it a bulwark against China’s power in the Indo-Pacific region. The deal will see the U.S. and Britain transfer nuclear-powered submarine technology to Australia. In Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday sharply condemned the new Australia-U.K.-U.S. partnership, known as AUKUS.
Zhao Lijian: “The cooperation between the United States, Britain and Australia on nuclear-powered submarines has severely damaged regional peace and stability, intensified the arms race and undermined international nuclear nonproliferation efforts.”
France’s foreign minister lashed out at the Biden administration over its nuclear submarine deal with Australia, saying France was blindsided by the U.S. announcement on Wednesday.
Jean-Yves Le Drian: “Because this unilateral, brutal, unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do. … In proper French, this is really a stab in the back. We created a relationship of trust with Australia, and that trust has been broken.”
Australia confirmed it will cancel a contract with a French military shipbuilder to build submarines, worth about $65 billion.
Meanwhile, antiwar and anti-nuclear groups are denouncing the Australia-U.K.-U.S. pact. In a statement, CodePink said, “If Biden and the Pentagon really want to 'ensure peace and stability' in the region, they could simply stop dealing missiles, weapons, [and] nuclear tech to Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.”
In Washington, D.C., police have erected a high metal fence blocking off the Capitol building and grounds ahead of the so-called Justice for J6 rally planned for Saturday. Protest organizers are demanding charges be dropped for violent Trump supporters who attacked Congress on January 6. CNN reports a Department of Homeland Security memo is warning of potential violence around Saturday’s rally.
Ohio Republican Congressmember Anthony Gonzalez announced Thursday he won’t run for reelection in 2022. Gonzalez was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection. After that vote, Gonzalez says he and his family faced threats and had to travel with a security detail. In a statement, Gonzalez said he was leaving Congress in part because of “toxic dynamics inside our own party.”
In sports news, the U.S. Soccer Federation has announced it’s offering the same contract proposals to both the men’s and women’s teams. This follows years of organizing by U.S. women soccer players, who denounced the drastic difference in wages compared to their male counterparts. Several women players sued the U.S. Soccer Federation over gender discrimination. The U.S. women’s soccer team has won a record four World Cup titles, while the male team has won none.
West Africa’s main regional bloc ECOWAS has enacted sanctions against military coup leaders in Guinea, demanding the immediate release of ousted President Alpha Condé and for elections to be held in six months. The West African leaders also called for elections in Mali by February of next year, saying those responsible for a coup there were holding up a transition to democratic rule. There have been multiple military coups in West and Central Africa since last year: in Guinea, Chad and two in Mali.
In Argentina, tens of thousands of people led a march in Buenos Aires Thursday protesting the country’s economic crisis, chronic unemployment and worsening poverty. This is a labor leader.
Eduardo Belliboni: “Some retirees cannot live, cannot eat, despite having worked all their lives. There is a situation of extreme poverty in which 11 million people eat in soup kitchens. There is also an extreme situation in which 5 million people are in severe poverty and do not eat.”
The march came days after primary elections were held in Argentina, where the political coalition of President Alberto Fernández suffered a massive loss, triggering fears Fernández’s government may lose its majority in Congress in November’s parliamentary elections. A political crisis is already unfolding with Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner spearheading what many are calling a cabinet rebellion against President Fernández.