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Haiti - USA : Deported Haitians are illegally detained in Haiti
24/04/2011 13:53:51

Haiti - USA : Deported Haitians are illegally detained in Haiti
"The U.S. deportation policy applies to noncitizens who receive sentences of a year or more in jail. An estimated 700 Haitians are slated for deportation this year, said Barbara Gonzalez of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"The United States cannot deport anyone if there would be a violation of their right to life, or their right to family life, especially if they have children, and their right to fair trial and due process," said Sunita Patel, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Although these individuals have served, the their entire sentence in the U.S., they are systematically detained upon arrival in Haiti, even if they are not wanted in this country. Harycidas Auguste, Government Commissioner, acknowledged that detaining deportees "is against Haitian law, which requires speedy processing of suspects and bans the jailing of Haitians who completed sentences in other countries [...] The detentions are completely illegal and arbitrary."

However, Aramick Louis, the secretary of state for public safety, defends and justifies the policy of the Government of Haiti "We can't consider these people to be saints; we have to consider them as they are... We have to control them on some level." It should be noted that these people are released once their families have been identified "Once released, most ex-detainees trying to find a job teaching English or using skills they picked up in the U.S." declared a government official who handles the issue.

There are few support services for the deportees has indicated Michelle Karshan who runs Alternative Chance, a small organization that has worked in this area for a decade. "It's not a popular subject, and after the earthquake even less so [...] because it's adult criminals from the States, it's not a poor peasant child..." Alternative Chance provides a variety of services, including job training and conflict resolution, but Karshan acknowledges that it cannot replace government services.

Still unemployed since his return this year, a deportee explains that he struggles to find his way in Port-au-Prince, where he lives with an aunt. He left a pregnant girlfriend behind in the U.S. and regrets that he won't be able to raise the child. He said he considered suicide... "This deportation has been a downfall for me"

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