U.S. Resumes Deportations To Haiti

For Immediate Release

U.S. Resumes Deportations To Haiti

ACLU Calls Decision By The Obama Administration A Setback And A Violation Of U.S. Human Rights Obligations

MIAMI - Following
reports that the U.S. government resumed the deportation of some
Haitians for the first time since a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti
last January, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of
Florida called on the Obama administration to suspend the deportations
until their safety and freedom can be guaranteed. The ACLU and
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson sent the Obama administration a letter
in December urging them to continue the suspension of deportation of
Haitians in light of pressing human rights and humanitarian concerns and
the raging cholera epidemic that has taken hold in that country.

“By deporting people to Haiti, which is in the midst of a raging
cholera epidemic, the U.S. government is violating important human
rights obligations to protect individuals from being returned to places
where their lives or freedoms could be threatened,” said Howard Simon,
Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida. “Our government should not
engage in the forced removal of people to any country where they would
be subject to persecution or inhumane treatment.”

The Department of Homeland Security has not responded to the ACLU’s
letter or issued any written guidelines on the resumption of
deportations to Haiti, despite numerous repeated requests by human
rights advocates. Instead, department officials have stated that the
U.S. government will consider for removal any Haitian who does not
qualify for Temporary Protected Status. The U.S. government will
initially deport individuals with final removal orders and criminal
convictions who have completed their sentences, even for nonviolent
misdemeanors. Priority will be given to those Haitians with "serious
offenses," a term which the administration has not defined.

“Current conditions in Haiti are simply too dangerous for the U.S. to
force people to return there now. By resuming Haitian deportations, this
administration will not only jeopardize the lives and safety of Haitian
deportees, but will also violate international human rights and refugee
laws,” said Joanne Lin, legislative counsel for the ACLU Washington
Legislative Office. “Without significant human rights improvements in
Haiti, these deportations will compound a catastrophic public health and
humanitarian crisis in one of the poorest countries in the world.”

The ACLU’s letter is available online at: www.aclufl.org/pdfs/HaitianLetter-2010-12-29.pdf (PDF)
 

 

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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