Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Haitian migrants end up in Otero County prison

Fainot Pierre is a 30-year-old Haitian-American veteran of the U.S. Army and a biology student, but he says now the first thing he tells people is, “I’m an activist.” A small but impassioned group of Haitian-Americans from Albuquerque to El Paso are decrying the detention of more than 2,700 Haitians who crossed through Mexico at the California border, many of them seeking asylum. Of those, more than 130 Haitian men are in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Otero County. Citing intelligence from countries along the migration route, ICE Director Sarah SaldaƱa told a congressional committee in September that as many as 40,000 more Haitians could be on their way to the U.S.-Mexican border – an “emergency situation,” she said.  Among the thousands of people from Central America – and increasingly Asia and Africa – who have been arriving at the Southwestern border asking for asylum, the Haitians find themselves in an especially difficult situation. The Department of Homeland Security said in September that it would restart deportations of unauthorized Haitian immigrants, which it had stopped after a devastating earthquake struck in 2010. Days after that decision, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, killing more than 1,000 people and plunging the country – still struggling to recover from the earthquake and reeling from political turmoil – into further chaos. DHS again suspended deportations but indicated flights would resume “as soon as possible.” Meanwhile, the Haitian government had been accepting only a limited number of its citizens, 50 per month, with frequent denials, making it impossible for the U.S. to deport them in large numbers, according to the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute...more

No comments: