Thursday, December 16, 2010

One Hundred Haitian Immigrants Moved to Louisiana Prisons are Facing Immediate Deportation

We have recently heard from the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) that 100 Haitians facing deportation have been moved to prisons in Louisiana, including the detention centers in Jena, Waterproof, and Basile.

According to a statement from FIAC:
Nearly a year after the January 12, 2010 earthquake which devastated that country, 1.5 million people remain homeless, most of them living in tent cities. A recent cholera outbreak has killed more than 2,300 Haitians and has sickened over 104,000 others. A contested election has sparked violence, and both Haiti and its government are on the verge of total collapse. Conditions are so dire that on Thursday the U.S. State Department issued a warning against any travel to Haiti.

Against this backdrop, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun to detain, and has stated it will begin to deport, Haitians who have completed criminal sentences in the United States, without any notice to the individuals or their families. On Tuesday, roughly 100 detained Haitians in South Florida were transferred --- again without notice --- to rural Louisiana, ensuring that the detainees will not have access to their families or attorneys before they are deported to an unsafe and unstable Haiti. Just two weeks before Christmas, American family members are devastated to find that they may never see their loved one again. Although Haitians who qualify may register for Temporary Protected States (TPS) through January 18, 2011, many will now be afraid to come forward because of ICE's unprecedented actions.
The Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center is calling on the US to halt all deportations to Haiti. "Removing individuals to Haiti under these circumstances is unconscionable", said FIAC Executive Director Cheryl Little.

Although much of the argument against deportations to Haiti has been based on arguments about the dire situation the country is in, we would like to add that deportations like this would be wrong in any situation, to any country. As Arizona's Repeal Coalition has stated, "we believe everyone should have the freedom to live, love and work wherever they please."

Photo above: Evelyn, a Haitian immigrant, wears a permanent tracking device while she awaits a decision from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on whether she will be deported back to Haiti or allowed to stay with her 5-year-old daughter, who was born in the US.

1 comment:

mdow said...

Here's a statement from Chans Alternativ, which has worked with Haitian "criminal deportees" for years.