The Haitian American community and allies are outraged by today’s announcement of the completely inappropriate resumption of deportations (“removals”) to Haiti of persons with no criminal record. A press conference to register that displeasure will be held today. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson’s statement that conditions in Haiti had “improved sufficiently to permit the U.S. government to remove Haitian nationals on a more regular basis” is completely inaccurate, unsupported by any economic or political facts, and fles in the face of Haiti’s cholera epidemic.
On the contrary, Haiti is unable to receive, house, feed, or employ additional numbers. Resuming removals now will add to Haiti’s troubles and threatens to further destabilize the nation, which is in the midst of a political crisis; it’s also bad for U.S. national security. Haiti has not recovered from the devastating 2010 earthquake and it has been and remains in political turmoil as well.
Furthermore, the DHS statement ignores Haiti’s still-raging cholera epidemic, which has killed 10,000 and sickened nearly a million. Only recently did the United Nations acknowledge responsibility for the outbreak, but it hasn’t yet made clear what concrete steps it will do to compensate cholera victims and eradicate the disease.
Said Haitian Women of Miami (FANM) Executive Director Marleine Bastien, “This change in policy could not come at a worse time. Haiti is still reeling from the earthquake, cholera epidemic, and political instability; it has yet to recover. Nothing has changed on the ground; it is inhumane to resume deportations now, injurious to Haiti’s people and recovery, and a blemish on the Obama administration.”
This inhumane U.S. policy shift is reported as an attempt to deal with conditions at the San Diego border with Mexico, but replacing humanitarian parole with a policy of resuming non-criminal deportations is wrong. And the Haitian government, which is in no position to receive additional deportees, may well refuse to accept non-criminal deportees.
“It is inconceivable that the Administration is doing this now, especially in the face of ongoing preferential treatment of arriving Cubans. The situation in Haiti today is dismal, and far worse than in Cuba”, said Cheryl Little, Executive Director of Americans for Immigrant Justice
We call on the Obama administration to reverse this dangerous, destabilizing, and inhumane policy reversal and resume its halt of all removals to Haiti.