December 16, 2010, New York – Today the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) wrote to President Barack Obama outlining concerns that deporting people with criminal convictions to Haiti amounts to a death sentence for many. The letter underlines the urgency of the problem given that, as reported to CCR yesterday by immigration attorneys and advocates, approximately 100 Haitians with final orders of removal have been rounded up and transferred to Louisiana in the last few days where they await deportation to Haiti.
The letter describes worsening conditions since the earthquake in January 2010 and a spiraling outbreak of cholera, particularly in the prisons, that has already resulted in numerous deaths. The letter reads, in part:
"Sending people to Haiti under these circumstances will end up being a death sentence for many. Sending additional people from the U.S. into the Haitian prison system will also further stress the resources available to the impoverished people who are in the system now.
"We are asking you, in the name of human rights and human dignity, to immediately suspend deportations to Haiti."
See below for the full text of the letter and affidavits.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced on December 9 that it has lifted the ban on deportations to Haiti for people with criminal convictions. Deportations to Haiti have been stayed since shortly after the January 12, 2010 earthquake devastated the country. ICE announced it has also ended the policy of releasing detainees with orders of removal after 90 days, which could result in their indefinite, unreasonable and arbitrary detention. Haitian nationals with any criminal record are now likely subject to continued detention and removal. Due to the worsening conditions in Haiti and the spiraling cholera in the prisons, returning people could violate the U.S.’s obligations on the Convention Against Torture.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.