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Join Us in Urging the U.S. to Halt Deportations to Haiti
January 21, 2011

Join Us in Urging the U.S. to Halt Deportations to Haiti
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA calls on the Department of Homeland Security to clarify their new policy and to provide an explanation of how conditions have materially changed in Haiti to justify the resumption of deportations, which have been suspended since the earthquake. We also ask for clarity on what steps are being taken in Haiti to prepare for the returns and what agreements have been reached with the Haitian government regarding the treatment of those returned.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is concerned that it will be nearly impossible for the Haitian state to provide for the safe and dignified reintegration of those deported, many of whom are long-time U.S. residents with no resources in Haiti. We are disturbed by the lack of clarity and transparency of DHS, which has provided no details as to how this might be accomplished. It is difficult to understand why this decision has been made at a time when Haiti is experiencing increasing political unrest and rising criminal activity. Placing the additional burden of dealing with these deportees on already overwhelmed Haitian government officials at this time is a bad decision.
(Washington, D.C.) January 21, 2011 – Yesterday the Department of Homeland security resumed deporting Haitians from the U.S. back to their troubled country. Haiti is in a severe crisis. More than one million people are without housing, incidences of rape and domestic violence are on the rise, and political violence has escalated. Exacerbating the instability of the current situation is a cholera epidemic that has claimed over 3000 lives and is expected to kill thousands more. 

DHS has not issued any written guidance explaining this new policy on Haitian deportations. Instead it has given verbal briefings to a limited group of stakeholders stating that the U.S. government will initially detain and deport individuals with "serious criminal convictions." 

"Serious criminal convictions" remains undefined by DHS. 

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA supports the enforcement of immigration laws, but we are concerned that the continuing state of emergency in Haiti will jeopardize the lives of those deported and divert resources from the recovery and reconstruction effort. 

We are also concerned that it will be nearly impossible for the Haitian state to provide for the safe and dignified reintegration of those deported, many of whom are long-time U.S. residents with no resources in Haiti. We are disturbed by the lack of clarity and transparency of DHS, which has provided no details as to how this might be accomplished. It is difficult to understand why this decision has been made at a time when Haiti is experiencing increasing political unrest and rising criminal activity. Placing the additional burden of dealing with these deportees on already overwhelmed Haitian government officials at this time is a bad decision. 

Also troubling is the fact that the week before Christmas, DHS began raiding Haitian communities in Florida, detaining and transferring about 100 Haitians to remote detention centers in Louisiana. This has separated them not only from family members in the U.S., but also from their lawyers and legal service providers. In effect, they have been spirited away from those who love them and those who could provide aid to them. Among those detained are Haitians who committed extremely minor infractions years ago, served their time and were released for good behavior. Those detained also include several mentally ill individuals, several sick and disabled individuals, and the parents of U.S. citizen children. 

We call on the Department of Homeland Security to clarify their new policy and to provide an explanation of how conditions have materially changed in Haiti to justify the resumption of deportations, which have been suspended since the earthquake. We also ask for clarity on what steps are being taken in Haiti to prepare for the returns and what agreements have been reached with the Haitian government regarding the treatment of those returned. 

Please join us and Take Action to stand with us to tell Secretary Napolitano and the Obama Administration that now is not the time to deport Haitians to Haiti. Urge President Obama to review this policy for the good of the Haitian people and for the good of those deported.
Take Action: Write the President, Vice President, Sec. Clinton and Sec. Napolitano

Press Contact Information
Shaina Aber
advocacyassociate@jesuit.org