ICE deported these men directly to the Haitian prison; family gathering
Activists plan to rally outside the Haitian consulate in Manhattan on Tuesday to protest the deportation from the United States of at least 30 men who were immediately jailed upon arrival in Haiti. Human rights law clinics will also require a hearing before the Organization of American States.
Haitian police jailed the men, including at least two from New Jersey, after their deportation flights landed and demanded thousands of dollars in payment from their families in the United States, The Record and USA TODAY have revealed. Network in a survey last month. On Tuesday, their relatives will join activists in demanding their freedom.
“Their situation is really bad. It’s not safe. It’s unhealthy… He’s my brother, no matter what, he’s still my brother. He’s my blood and I will do whatever as I can for him,” said Berline Casimir, who will travel. from Florida with their father at the rally to support his brother Jean Casimir.
Haitian authorities have routinely imprisoned deported felons — immigrants who have served time in the United States for a wide range of crimes — over the past six months, The Record reported. The practice is illegal under Haitian and international human rights law, lawyers said.
The Caribbean nation has faced turmoil with the near collapse of its government and rampant gang violence – conditions that worsened after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise last year and a more recent earthquake . Conditions are particularly dire in the overcrowded prison system, where the UN says conditions amount to torture and where dozens of people have died this year of malnutrition.
Family members and activists will meet at 10 a.m. at the Haitian consulate at 815 Second Ave., and demand action from Haitian and U.S. officials, who they say have failed to respond despite calls for helping families.
The US State Department and consulate did not respond to requests for comment. The senses. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez – who both represent New Jersey and serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – criticized the mass deportations to Haiti but declined to comment. Members of the House Haiti Caucus also did not respond to requests for comment.
Haydi Torres, a community organizer with Movimiento Cosecha, an immigrant advocacy group, said the rally was meant to “highlight what is happening in Haiti with the unjust detention of over 30 men.”
Activists will also call for an end to deportations by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to Haiti, where people face indefinite detention without charge or an opportunity to see a judge. “Our request is clear,” she said. “The United States must stop deporting people to Haiti.”
Detainee cases increase
Deportees to Haiti’s National Penitentiary include Patrick Julney, who came to the United States as a toddler and was a legal resident but not a citizen. Julney, who lived in Elizabeth, served nine years in prison for robbery and drug trafficking and was held by ICE for three years before being deported on June 7.
The prison did not provide Julney with necessary blood pressure medication. Julney and the other inmates only receive food or drinking water when provided by visitors. His wife, Laura McMaster of Glendora in Camden County, said she was seized with anxiety over his ordeal.
“I live in fear every day. I wake up and go to sleep not knowing if he’s okay,” said McMaster, who will rally for his release on Tuesday.
Since The Record’s story of Julney’s ordeal, several families have reached out to say their loved ones have also been deported and held in prison in Port-au-Prince. Police asked the American family members to pay, saying they were for a fee or for their release.
Jean Casimir from Florida was incarcerated on July 17, the same day he arrived in Haiti. He has no family there and doesn’t speak much Creole, said his sisters Berline and Mabelle, who will travel from Boston to attend the rally.
“He’s had his day,” Mabelle said, referring to his past drug and gun convictions. “I think he deserves a second chance, not because he’s my brother, but because people deserve a second chance in life.”
The family pays around $100 a day to bring them food and clean water – money used for food and to pay gangs and police to make sure meals get to them. Sedan, a nurse, said she worked overtime to send him money.
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“Why does he remain in prison in Haiti? she asked. ” Why ? What did he do there? He knows nothing about this country.
“The United States must free these people,” Sedan added. “They must be free because they have already paid their due.”
A family friend, Ricardo David, delivers meals to him, but if he wants to see him in person, he has to pay an extra $50. In a call from Haiti, David described how men are crammed into packed cells, sleeping on the floor but barely able to stretch their legs due to lack of space. They use buckets for toilets and rarely come out of their cells, he said.
“If there’s hell on earth, that’s what they’re talking about,” David said. “It’s beyond hell out there. You have tin foil for a roof and when the sun is shining at noon, everyone’s hot in there.”
Saguens Bernabe of Ohio was deported on April 19 after serving two years for drug possession, his fiancée Brianna Moore said. She rented a two-bedroom duplex on a quiet Indianapolis street and got him a construction job, eager to build their life together after his release.
The day before his scheduled release in June 20201, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested him. He left Haiti when he was 9 years old, Moore said. Police officials have requested sums of between $6,000 and $10,000 for his release, she said.
“They sent him back and now the government is holding him captive, kidnapped him, having done nothing wrong in this country,” Moore said. “It’s just a very sad and stressful situation for everyone involved. I worry daily about his health and safety.
The imprisonment of deportees with criminal records in Haiti was once widespread, but the practice was banned about a decade ago. At the time, advocates appealed to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, part of the Organization of American States, to end the practice.
Nichole Phillips, legal director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for fair immigration policies, said a coalition of legal groups are preparing to appear before the OAS again.
“It violates international human rights law,” Phillips said. “The U.S. government is putting these Haitian nationals at risk for their safety both because Haiti is politically unstable and extremely dangerous, but also because of this tendency of the Haitian government to detain and detain [deportees] with a criminal record and asking for bribes to be released.”
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The Haitian Bridge Alliance and several human rights legal clinics wrote to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Monday requesting a hearing. The letter highlights “recent reports that Haiti has resumed its previous practice of automatically detaining people who have been removed with criminal records” and cites Julney’s case covered by The Record.
Marleine Bastien, executive director of the Florida-based Family Action Network Movement, said she interviewed deportees when she worked in Haiti years ago with the Human Rights Clinic at the School of Law. University of Miami. She was shocked to learn that it was happening again.
The United States has influence in Haiti and should speak out to ensure people are not imprisoned in “deplorable” conditions, she said.
“We have to call the Biden administration to make sure they step in and stop this from happening,” she said. “They have to tell them to stop these practices because these practices are horrible. It’s a big abuse of these families who are already going through so much.