Stop Deportations to Haiti Immediately

“With the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Haiti, it is unconscionable that the Obama Administration would consider resuming deportations.  The Administration is knowingly returning deportees to Haiti during a spike in the cholera epidemic and while hundreds of thousands remain homeless and vulnerable, with a likelihood of unjust detention and imprisonment, and possible illness or death.”

—Nicole Lee, President, TransAfrica Forum

April 15, 2011–TransAfrica Forum condemns the Obama Administration’s decision to resume deportations to Haiti.  Following a one year stay in deportations due to the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement resumed deportations to Haiti on January 20, 2011.  The first group of people to be sent back to Haiti since the devastating earthquake included Wildrick Guerrier. Just days after arriving in Haiti, Mr. Guerrier died from cholera-like symptoms.  Despite the unsafe conditions that persist in Haiti, the US has decided to resume deportations.  This unreasonably aggressive policy continues to be executed regardless of its effectiveness at stemming migration and potentially fatal outcome.

Fifteen months after the earthquake, Haiti remains in a state of emergency.  Almost 700,000 remain internally displaced in officially recognized IDP camps.  Hundreds of thousands of additional people remain in informal settlements, in neighborhoods, in unsafe housing, and with friends and family. The magnitude and scope of the disaster, coupled with poor coordination, inadequate assistance and scarce Haitian consultation, means that Haiti continues to be overwhelmed by the Quake.

For people living in camps today, security is nearly non-existent and the threat of forced eviction and violence looms large.  Both the Haitian National Police (PNH) or United Nations (MINUSTAH) forces have done little to address such insecurity.  Under these circumstances, it is unfair to release criminal deportees, many of whom have lived in the US for decades, into Haiti.   Criminal deportees returned to Haiti also face significant challenges including job discrimination and social alienation.

Until the situation in Haiti improves significantly the Obama Administration should postpone plans of criminal deportations.

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