Haiti: US warns on travel, resumes deportations

On Dec. 10 the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bureau announced that it expects to start repatriating Haitian immigrants with criminal records in January, ending a temporary suspension of all deportations of Haitians that the US imposed after an earthquake hit Port-au-Prince and other parts of southern Haiti last January.

Three New York-based human rights groups, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and Alternative Chance, protested the decision to resume deportations. “The situation in Haiti has not improved and may be even worse now than when the deportations were halted in the weeks after the devastating earthquake of January 2010,” the groups said. They noted that one day before the ICE announcement the US State Department had issued a warning to US citizens against non-essential travel to Haiti because of the “continued high crime, the cholera outbreak, frequent disturbances in Port-au-Prince and in provincial cities, and limited police protection and access to medical care.” (Miami Herald, Dec. 10, from AP; Examiner.com, Dec. 13)

ICE is currently holding about 350 Haitian immigrants said to be violent criminals. One of those slated for deportation is Lyglenson Lemorin, who was in fact acquitted by a federal jury in the 2007 trial of the “Liberty City Seven,” a group charged with conspiring to attack Chicago’s Sears Tower. Lemorin has been held in immigration detention since 2007 because Immigration Judge Kenneth Hurwetz ruled that he was a dangerous terrorist who had to be deported despite his acquittal. Lemorin has been challenging his detention before the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, and on Dec. 15 his attorney, Charles Kuck, filed an emergency motion to stay Lemorin’s removal. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 15)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 19.

See our last post on Haiti.