Essex County Commissioner President – Wayne L. Richardson
It is imperative that the United States government’s violent treatment and inhumane policies toward Haitian refugees stop now. In last week’s photos and footage, I saw people who look like me being treated like cattle, like slaves. The horrific treatment documented in those widely published photographs sickened many and galvanized elected officials, civic and political organizations, human rights organizations, and concerned individuals to call for President Biden to end the historic discriminatory treatment of Haitian refugees. This is not an issue to be outraged about today and forgotten tomorrow. We must demand that the immigration policies of former U.S. presidents towards refugees entering the U.S. via Mexican borders not be the policies of President Joe Biden. We must demand that Haitian refugees be treated with the same human decency that all refugees should be afforded.
As President of the Essex County Board of Commissioners, I join the outcry of East Orange Mayor Ted R. Green, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, other elected officials, Peoples Organization for Progress Chairman Lawrence Hamm, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and so many other organizations and individuals in calling for a responsible humanitarian U.S. immigration policy that ends the disparity that targets black and brown people who arrive here in desperation. The words on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your Huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” can’t be abandoned.