Law School Clinics Release Report Documenting the Devastating Consequences of U.S. Deportations to Haiti
Report argues that returning people to post-earthquake Haiti violates human rights
ORAL GABLES, FL (February 16, 2015) – A report documenting the failure of the United States to safeguard the human rights of those it deports to post-earthquake Haiti has been released by the Human Rights and Immigration Clinics at the University of Miami School of Law and the International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago School of Law.
The law school clinics collaborated with Alternative Chance/Chans Alternativ, Americans for Immigration Justice, Haitian Women of Miami (FANM), and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti to conduct extensive fact-finding about the treatment of men and women who were deported on account of a criminal history, including over 100 interviews of deportees. The report recommends that the United States halt deportations to Haiti in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis and extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to all Haitian nationals.
“We hope this report moves the U.S. government to stop deportations to Haiti,” said Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of FANM (Haitian Women of Miami). “Post-earthquake Haiti is unable to safely receive deportees.” Deportees face high levels of violence, lack of access to healthcare, and an inability to find employment and housing.
Deportations to Haiti affect deportees as well as the family left behind in the United States, imposing additionally financial and emotional strain on the spouses and children of deportees. “The government has taken away my father, my best friend,” said a teenage girl whose father was deported after the earthquake.
Shortly after the earthquake, the United States granted TPS to eligible Haitians, which allowed them to stay in the United States. Excluded from protection under TPS are individuals convicted of two misdemeanors or one felony. Over the past five years, the U.S. has forcibly returned approximately 1,500 men and women, including parents of U.S. citizen children, people with severe medical and mental health conditions, and those with only minor criminal records.
“This report would not have been possible without deportees willing to share their stories of the almost insurmountable obstacles they face in post-earthquake Haiti,” said Geoffrey Louden, a third year law student at the University of Miami School of Law who traveled to Haiti last October and worked on the report. “We urge policymakers to listen”.
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