Originally Published in The Hill
Anagha Srikanth - February 9, 2021
The federal agency is at odds with leadership.
One day before President Biden's 100-day moratorium on all deportations resumed, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported at least 72 people to Haiti on Feb. 7, according to the Guardian.
The two flights left from Texas to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where the U.S.-backed Haitian president has refused to leave office, triggering a political crisis. On Jan. 26, U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee, placed a 14-day injunction against the moratorium, which he later extended to Feb. 23, based on a federal contract with the state made by the Trump administration.
“I fear for the kids being sent into the middle of this uprising. It’s as if there is a house burning, and instead of taking people out for their own safety the United States is sending defenseless babies into the burning house," Guerline Jozef, executive director of the immigration support group the Haitian Bridge Alliance, told the Guardian.
Immigration watchdog Witness at the Border has estimated that the agency has chartered 52 flights since Inauguration day and 81 since the beginning of the year, as the Trump administration began speeding up deportations. ICE has been criticized for breaking with the Biden administration, whose appointee, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, was confirmed on Feb. 2. Days later, the agency canceled a deportation flight to west Africa because of allegations of brutality by ICE agents, according to a statement to the Guardian.