Study, Activists: Stop U.S. Deportations To Haiti

Feb 19, 2015

At a press conference Thursday, University of Miami Law Clinic and Haitian activists talk about a study that asks the U.S. to stop deportations to Haiti. Left to right: Geoffrey Loudin, UM law student, Edwidge Danticat, author, Marleine Bastien, activist.
Credit Nadege Green / WLRN

After the deadly 2010 Haiti earthquake, the United States halted all deportations to the island nation.

One year later, deportations resumed to Haiti amid a deadly cholera outbreak.

Wildrick Guerrier was one of 27 men deported to Haiti from the U.S. on Jan 20, 2011, according to a recently released study by human rights groups that documents the impact of returning deportees to a post-earthquake Haiti.

Guerrier developed cholera-like symptoms after being jailed in Haiti, a customary practice when deportees return. One week after his arrival, he died.

The study was co-authored by the University of Miami's human rights and immigration clinics and the University of Chicago Law School International Human Rights Clinic.

On Thursday morning, University of Miami representatives along with Haitian activists held a press conference to draw attention to the inhumane conditions deportees return to and the struggles they face when they return to Haiti.

Miami activist Marleine Bastien said deportees are often sent back to Haiti for nonviolent offenses. She also added Haiti is in no situation to accept deportees as it struggles with rebuilding after the earthquake, cholera outbreaks and political instability.

“What the study shows is the grave conditions we are sending people to who did not pose a threat to the U.S.,” she said.

Geoffrey Louden, a third-year law student at the University of Miami, is one of the study’s authors.

He said he hopes the study will influence lawmakers in Washington to stop deportations to Haiti.

“These families are being torn apart when the United States deport them and  they deport them to conditions that are inhumane and unbearable for many,” Louden said.

Among the study’s recommendations to the U.S.:

  • Stop all deportations to Haiti until the current humanitarian crisis is resolved.
  • Extend Temporary Protected Status to all Haitian national living in the U.S.
  • Evaluate deportation on a case-by-case test, especially of non-violent criminal offenders.
  • Reinstitute and finance a deportee reintegration program in Haiti to help deportees transition into Haitian society.
  • Encourage the Haitian government to institute a no-detention policy when deportees return to Haiti.