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Haitian Immigrant Deportations Should Be Halted

April 1st, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has resumed deportations to Haiti, a development about which we are deeply concerned. Deportations place an unnecessary burden on Haiti, which is still struggling to recover from the devastating earthquake of January 2010. Reconstruction continues in the country, but at a very slow pace, with hundreds of thousands of people still living in tent cities. What is worse is that Haiti’s jails, where the Haitian government usually holds deportees, are notorious for their inhumane treatment of detainees.

Deportations from the U.S. to Haiti had been halted on humanitarian grounds when the earthquake devastated Haiti. On January 20, 2011, the U.S. resumed deportations to Haiti, deporting an estimated 27 people of Haitian origin with criminal records. One has died already in prison from cholera-like symptoms.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration has expressed deep opposition to the recent resumption of deportations, citing the slow recovery from the earthquake, the recent outbreak of cholera, and concern that this would communicate the wrong message to the Haitian people, who are depending upon the United States for long-term support in their effort to recover from the earthquake.

Take Action Now. Tell President Obama Administration and Secretary Napolitano that now is not the time to deport Haitians to Haiti.

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