Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Haiti Deportations are a Death Sentence

Action: Send another letter to President Obama and the Administration urging him to stop the deportation of Haitians

Background: A week after the United States deported 27 Haitians, deportee Wildrick Guerrier has died. After being placed in a Haitian jail, Guerrier, 34, a long-time U.S. resident, began to suffer from cholera-like symptoms, including extreme vomiting and uncontrollable diarrhea. He died shortly thereafter, leaving family in the U.S. to mourn his loss. At least one other Haitian detainee shows similar symptoms.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) resumed deportations of Haitians with criminal backgrounds on January 20th, despite Haiti’s continuing crisis. Just over a year ago, a devastating earthquake set off a chain of events that has caused well over 200,000 deaths. Homelessness and political instability are on the rise while access to social services is declining. Exacerbating the situation is a cholera epidemic that has claimed 4,000 lives and is expected to kill thousands more.

Mr. Guerrier’s untimely death indicates that Haiti is unable to provide for the safe and dignified reintegration of deportees. Not only are the lives of deported Haitians at risk, deportations could divert critical resources from Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction effort.

Faith Reflection: In Proverbs 31, the Bible calls us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” We must remember that dignity, respect and compassion are core values of Jesus' teaching, irrespective of nationality or background. As we consider our Haitian brothers and sisters, let us remember that our treatment of the least among us is our treatment of Jesus himself.

Action: Urge President Obama to review this policy for the good of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Alert prepared by Janelle Tupper. Adapted from an alert by Jesuit Refugee Services, an MCC partner in the Interfaith Immigration Coalition

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