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Anger over US deporting immigrants to Haiti

Posted by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 11:54 AM
  • 4 Replies

Last week, Claudine Magloire received bad news from Port-au-Prince: her fiancé Wildrick Guerrier had died of cholera after, she claims, spending eight days in a dirty, crowded cell with no water and no food. Yet she does not blame the Haitian authorities for his death. She blames the US government: Mr Guerrier was a legal resident of Florida with neither family nor property left in Haiti.

“The US government knows what the situation in Haiti is and they sent him back anyway. It was like a death sentence, they are fully responsible for his death,” she says. The couple were planning to marry this year.

After spending a few weeks at a detention centre in Louisiana, Mr Guerrier, a 34-year-old DJ, was deported to Haiti with 26 others on January 20. It was the first group sent back to the Caribbean nation since the earthquake that flattened several towns and cities leaving 230,000 dead and about 1.5m homeless in January last year. All but one of the group had been convicted of a crime in the US.

Deportations from the US to Haiti had been halted on humanitarian grounds for a year, with Haitians in the US falling under the Temporary Protection Status given to foreign citizens when conditions prevent their safe return.

However, late last month, the US Department of Homeland Security lifted the temporary ban on deportations for people with criminal convictions. Mr Guerrier, who was convicted of a felony in 2009, served an 18-month sentence in Florida. More than 100 Haitians have already been sent back with many more on the list. Although the DHS has stated only people with serious criminal records will be repatriated, many Haitians are worried that wider deportations could be imminent. The inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on deportations to stop until conditions in Haiti – where a cholera outbreak has killed about 4,000 since October and infected 200,000 others – improved.

There have been protests by members of the Haitian community calling for repatriations to stop because of the cholera epidemic and continuing civil unrest. There were clashes in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday between riot police and protesters demanding that René Préval, outgoing president, leave office immediately before a presidential run-off vote on March 20.

“Even people with minor misdemeanours were already deported or are now on the list. The US is basically trying to find any excuse possible to send Haitians back, any Haitian back, people who got here before and people who got here after the earthquake,” claims Haitian-America activist Marlene Bastien.

An official at the DHS said only Haitians with a criminal conviction and a final order of removal were deported. The DHS was “legally required to repatriate criminal aliens to their country of origin or release them into US communities if their repatriation is not reasonably foreseeable”.

Rebecca Sharpless, Director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law, says: “The US has a choice. Deportations need to stop until life-threatening conditions improve in Haiti.

“While the US has often historically shirked its human rights obligations toward Haitian migrants, we hope our government will come to its senses and halt the ongoing deportations,” she adds.

Back at Mrs Magloire’s home, a picture of Barack Obama stands next to a small Haitian flag. “I do not blame him personally for this”, she says, pointing at the picture. “But I do blame this poor, faulty decision of sending him back. Sending him to die.”

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/07a20d18-33a8-11e0-b1ed-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1DSiZgema

by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 11:54 AM
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Replies (1-4):
candlegal
by Judy on Feb. 9, 2011 at 1:55 PM

this surprises me

iluv2meow
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 2:00 PM

I dont understand... they will let the mexicans in freely and ignore they are HERE but they will send back anyone else? WTF?

AmmuJSE
by Ammu on Feb. 9, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Mr Guerrier was a legal resident of Florida.....if he was "legal" why was he deported?

All but one of the group had been convicted of a crime in the US.... If his crime was "bad enough" they can revoke residency.

I don't blame the US government. It's a lose-lose either way. Either we don't do anything about it and millions of illegals come in OR we do and something happens to them once they get back to their country and we eventually get blamed for it. 

Haiti had the MASSIVE earthquake a year ago.....I'm sorry that was a long enough time to stop deportations....it's time to resume. 

JojosMom18613
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 2:03 PM

This

Quoting AmmuJSE:

Mr Guerrier was a legal resident of Florida.....if he was "legal" why was he deported?

All but one of the group had been convicted of a crime in the US.... If his crime was "bad enough" they can revoke residency.

I don't blame the US government. It's a lose-lose either way. Either we don't do anything about it and millions of illegals come in OR we do and something happens to them once they get back to their country and we eventually get blamed for it. 

Haiti had the MASSIVE earthquake a year ago.....I'm sorry that was a long enough time to stop deportations....it's time to resume. 


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