One year later, Haiti is still reeling from the devastating January 2010 earthquake and is burdened with a massive cholera epidemic, political unrest, and rampant street violence. Deportations from the U.S. to Haiti have been stayed on humanitarian grounds since the January 12, 2010.
Advocates and community members were shocked when, on December 9, 2010, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unexpectedly announced that it was lifting the ban on deportations to Haiti and that it would resume deportations in January 2011, the one-year anniversary of the earthquake.
Romy Lerner, Supervising Attorney at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center said,”We are deeply concerned that this policy is tearing apart the Haitian community. Our petition alleges that the United States has violated the human rights of the Haitians who are at risk of imminent deportations by separating them from their families without considering their ties to the United States or the welfare of their U.S. citizen children. In Miami, the community is terrified of what is about to happen.”
The petition was submitted by University of Miami School of Law Human Rights and Immigration Clinics, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Alternative Chance, and the Loyola Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice.
A letter supporting the petition to the IACHR was also submitted with 285 signatures from organizations and individuals around the country. The International Indian Treaty Council and the United Confederation of Taino People are among the signatories on the letter, which was also sent to the U.S. State Department.
The petitioning organizations and supporters are urging calls to elected officials and the media today to urge that the US government reverse course, and stop its plan to commence deportations of Haitians this month.