ICE resumes deportations to Haiti
via Randy McGrorty, Catholic Legal Services, Archdiocese of Miami, Inc
Last night a group of advocates participated in a conference call with ICE headquarters regarding the recent decision to resume deportations of Haitians with serious criminal convictions to Haiti. A colleague, who participated, in the call and serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association ICE liaison Committee, provided the following summary of that call and distributed it to AILA members.
“The halt on removals to Haiti of criminal-aliens has been LIFTED. Per the Department of Homeland Security, ERO arrested 89 Haitian nationals with final orders of removal who had been convicted of violent crimes. Haitian-nationals with criminal records who are in custody and who have been ordered removed will no longer automatically be released after 90 days; on a case-by-case basis, persons with criminal records will probably stay in custody and in fact be removed.
Persons reporting on ISAP/ or an OSUP are subject to re-detention if they have a serious criminal record. DHS was not specific about when persons with other types of crimes (i.e., non-violent) would be detained and removed; however, DHS did clarify that at this time, the halt on deportation to Haiti of persons with criminal records has been lifted, and proceeding at a measured pace, Haitian nationals with any criminal record are potentially subject to continued detention and removal. DHS stated that this is very much a public safety issue and that persons with serious criminal records should not be at large in the community; DHS stressed that their priority at this time is violent crime; persons picked up this week had convictions such as sexual assault, robbery, even homicide. My only concern is that we do not know when other types of crimes will also be designated for detention and removal. I will let you know when and if I receive additional clarification or information.”
My concerns go beyond the very significant concern expressed by her.
I believe we need to press ICE for further details, including the scope an types of crimes which may trigger deportation; the resources in place in Haiti to ensure that this population will not add to the monumental suffering experienced by post-earthquake Haiti, compounded by increasing violence in the camps, violence resulting from the election upheavals, and the spread of the cholera epidemic; the factors ICE considered in choosing to resume deportations at this very delicate time in Haiti (what has changed in Haiti which would lead ICE to resume deportation and determine that country conditions have improved sufficiently to allow for such deportations?); the alternatives, if any, which ICE might have considered in lieu of resuming deportations to address public safety concerns (such as continued detention of potential recidivists who might pose a threat to the public safety); procedural guarantees that only those with serious criminal convictions who pose a threat to public safety will be deported, with all others receiving continued orders of supervision without the threat of deportation; the time frame for deportation; the expansion of the program in the future.
This is a very serious change in ICE operating procedures regarding Haiti, deserving of greater detail and candor than ICE offered during the conference call.
See more discussion of this issue in the Miami Herald: US set to resume some deportations to Haiti