Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ICE agents backed down from an attempt to deport three Haitians ill with the coronavirus on Monday.

ICE agents backed down from an attempt to deport three Haitians ill with the coronavirus on Monday. (Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Despite Haitians Who Tested Positive for Covid-19 Given Last-Minute Reprieve, Dems Demand Total Moratorium on Deportations During Pandemic

"Deporting people to Haiti in the midst of a global pandemic is both inhumane and unsafe."

Eoin Higgins

Democrats in the U.S. House introduced a bill on Monday that would place a moratorium on deportations for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic—a proposal that arrives amid outrage over an effort by the Trump administration to send immigrants from Haiti back to their home country despite having tested positive for the virus.

"Continuing these flights will likely contribute to the spread of the novel coronavirus in the impoverished nation where many people do not have access to basic healthcare," said Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), whose Haitian Deportation Relief Act was introduced Monday. 

Wilson's legislation comes just days after a Friday Miami Herald story on efforts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to knowingly deport at least five Haitians infected with the virus and after the agency reversed its decision. 

According to the Miami Herald reporting on Monday:

U.S. immigration authorities did not deport five detainees back to Haiti on Monday who had tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 respiratory disease, Haitian officials have been told.

[...]

ICE's decision to not deport the five detainees with Covid-19 comes days after a Miami Herald story detailed how the Department of Homeland Security had planned to deport infected Haitian nationals. The Herald, which had obtained a copy of the flight manifest, confirmed the five detainees' names were on the original deportation flight list.

ICE's actions, tweeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), were tantamount to the agency using deportees in an effort of "actively spreading the coronavirus."

"This should not be hard: halt deportations during this crisis!" said Omar. 

The Wilson bill calls on the federal government to suspend all deportations to Haiti until the pandemic has run its course in both the U.S. and Haiti in light of the effect on the Caribbean nation's "minimal public health infrastructure" which, it is feared, could be overrun by a surge in Covid-19 cases. 

"That is tantamount to a death sentence for Haitians who are living with compromised water and sanitation systems and do not have access to the sanitation measures we've undertaken in the United States," Wilson said. 

The Florida congresswoman was joined in her call for action by a number of other lawmakers, including Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.). 

"ICE continues to deport people in the midst of a global pandemic and risks contributing to the spread of Covid-19," said Thompson. "We simply should not be deporting anyone who has been in an affected facility, nor to countries such as Haiti that may struggle to respond to an outbreak."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Court Strikes Down Alabama GOP's Racist Congressional Map

"We deserve to be heard in our electoral process, rather than have our votes diluted using a map that purposefully cracks and packs Black communities," said a plaintiff in the case.

Jake Johnson ·


One Year In, Biden Fails to Boost C- Grade on Environment

The Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund assessment indicates the administration's action to deliver on environmental promises "desperately needs improvement."

Jessica Corbett ·


'A No-Brainer': Lawmakers Urge Pelosi to Hold Vote on Stock Trading Ban

"Perhaps this means some of our colleagues will miss out on lucrative investment opportunities," said House members in a bipartisan letter. "We don't care."

Jessica Corbett ·


Virginia Schools Sue Youngkin Mandate Making Masks Optional

The Republican governor wants to allow parents to decide whether their children should wear masks to school to mitigate Covid-19 transmission—guidance at least 58 school districts have no plans to follow.

Julia Conley ·


US Puts Troops on Standby as War Tensions Over Ukraine Mount

The U.K. threatens "lightning war" as military forces mobilize in eastern Europe.

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo