Former US President Donald Trump has sparked outrage after suggesting Haitian migrants coming over to the US ‘probably have AIDS’.
A catastrophic earthquake struck the Tiburon Peninsula in the Caribbean country back in August, leaving more than 2,200 people dead and some 12,200 people injured. As per the UN, an estimated 650,000 people have been left in desperate need of emergency humanitarian assistance.
This devastation has unfolded eleven years after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck some 15 miles (25 km) southwest of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, killing an estimated 220,000 people and plunging 1.5 million people into a state of homelessness, as per the Disaster Emergency Committee.
Devastation aside, Haiti is also experiencing worrying political unrest. The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, came amid a time of escalating gang violence and economic uncertainty, while the summer has been marked by protests and civil unrest.
Many people across the world will no doubt have sympathy for those feeling as though they have no other choice but to leave Haiti behind in search of a new life.
However, with echoes of his populist presidential speeches, Trump opted to use divisive and dehumanising language to describe Haitian migrants during a recent interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, stating:
So, we have hundreds of thousands of people flowing in from Haiti. Haiti has a tremendous AIDS problem. AIDS is a step beyond. AIDS is a real bad problem.
Many of those people will probably have AIDS and they’re coming into our country. And we don’t do anything about it. We let everybody come in.
Many have been left repulsed by Trump’s comments, which do absolutely nothing to tackle the enduring stigma surrounding AIDS while stoking fear around those who have already been through so much. Furthermore, his figures are simply nowhere near accurate.
As reported by Indy100, Trump’s scaremongering assertion that ‘hundreds of thousands of people’ are currently pouring across the US border is in fact far higher than the actual figure.
As of last week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that some 13,000 migrants were waiting in Del Rio, Texas, for their asylum cases to be heard before a US immigration judge.
The estimated number of Haitian migrants sits somewhere around 15,000. However, it must be noted that the US has sent back over 7,000 migrants since September 19.
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