For Immediate Release:January 18, 2021
Contacts: Milli Atkinson (415) 782-8926
(numbers not for distribution)
BREAKING: San Francisco Customs and Border Patrol Separate Haitian Siblings
San Francisco – On a holiday to celebrate the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) at San Francisco International Airport has made the decision to separate two siblings from Haiti, age 9 and 19. The young boys arrived at the airport from Haiti on a flight through Mexico late last evening and were detained by CBP.
The San Francisco Rapid Response Network was alerted to the situation and is advocating for the siblings to be released under parole to allow them to remain together. CBP has denied advocates the ability to speak directly with the two boys while they have been held in custody. This is a process that CBP does routinely and is the most humane way to resolve the issue. Instead, CBP plans to transfer the boys to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) early tomorrow morning where the boys will be separated. They plan to send the 9-year-old boy to a detention center for minors in Texas and place the elder brother on an outbound flight to Mexico, where he has no legal status.
Milli Atkinson, Legal Director for the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative, who has been in communication with the family and advocating with CBP on the siblings behalf, states: “It is unconscionable that these two young boys have been held at the airport for over 24 hours and denied access to counsel during this time. They have strong ties in the community and have always travelled legally on their visas without incident in the past. Their family is desperate to hear from them and comfort them, but immigration officials refuse to allow them to speak to an attorney.”
This decision exemplifies the U.S. immigration system’s anti-black policies and continues the cruel, inhumane, and widely condemned policy of separating families.
Advocates demand that ICE use their authority to parole the brothers into the United States so that the family remain united.
Call CBP Field Director at (415) 744-1530 and the Deferred Inspections Acting Supervisor at (415) 844-5227 and demand that the boys be sent to Deferred Inspection or paroled for humanitarian reasons while the issues related to their visas are resolved. Families Belong Together!
Immigrant Legal Defense Program Director
San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative Legal Director
The Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco
301 Battery Street, 3rd Floor | San Francisco, CA 94111
Tel: (415) 782-8926 | Fax: (415) 688-4633