In January 2011, Miami Law’s Human Rights and Immigration Clinics began working on various projects to stop deportations to Haiti.
On June 30, 2014 the Human Rights and Immigration Clinics contributed to a Shadow Report to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination regarding Deportation from the United States to Haiti: A Violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
The Human Rights and Immigration Clinics recently contributed to a "shadow report" submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in anticipation of the upcoming review of the United States' compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in Geneva in October 2013.
Click here to read the shadow report on U.S. Deportations to Haiti. In February 2014, the clinic submitted an update to their original shadow report. Click here to read the update on U.S. Deportations to Haiti.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held a formal working meeting on deportations to Haiti on November 3, 2012. On November 16, 2012, the commission issued a press release stating:
"The Inter-American Commission again calls on the United States to suspend deportations to Haiti of persons of Haitian origin who have are seriously ill or who have family members in the United States, especially when those family members are children and those at risk of deportation were the family's primary breadwinners. This suspension should be maintained until Haiti can guarantee that access to medical treatment meets the minimum applicable standards."
The full text of the IACHR's statement relating to the Deportation of Haitian Nationals by the United States is located in Part II of the press release available here.
Read the op-ed by Miami Law Clinic students Drew Aiken and Erin Lewis Deportations to Haiti Threaten Lives and Tear Families Apart (Caribbean Journal, Sept. 19, 2012)
Read the statement presented on July 3, 2012 at the United Nations Human Rights Council by the ACLU, UM's Human Rights and Immigration Clinics, and others concerning Haitian deportations from the U.S. following the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
The U.N.'s Independent Expert on human rights in Haiti, as well as UM Clinics and South Florida immigration advocates, have renewed their call on the United States, Dominican Republic and others to halt deportations to Haiti. To learn more, click on the links below.
On January 6, 2011, the Human Rights and Immigration Clinics, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, Alternative Chance and the Loyola Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice filed an emergency petition for precautionary measures with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to halt the roundups, detention, and imminent deportations of hundreds of Haitian nationals by the United States government. To read a summary of the petition for precautionary measures, click here. To read the entire petition, click here.
The IACHR requested that the United States respond to the petition by January 19, 2011 (see letter). The next day, the United States deported 27 men to Haiti. All of the men were detained in squalid and life-threatening conditions in Haiti under a longstanding policy of the Haitian government to detain all deportees who have a U.S. criminal record. After spending a week in Haitian jail, one of the deported men, Wildrick Guerrier, 34, demonstrated cholera-like symptoms and died shortly thereafter. Guerrier, a former lawful permanent resident, left behind a large family in the United States, including his fiancé and her son, his mother, and brothers and sisters.
On February 4, 2011 the IACHR granted the request for precautionary measures. The IACHR urged the United States to suspend deportations of the five Haitians named in the petition until Haiti is able to guarantee that detention conditions and access to medical care for persons in custody comply with applicable minimum standards and until the United States has implemented procedures that take into account the deportees' human rights to life and family.
To read a letter to the IACHR in support of the petition, signed by over 80 organizations and nearly 200 legal experts, advocates and others, please click here.
On March 26, 2011 the Human Rights and Immigration Clinics appeared before the IACHR in a formal working meeting to argue against the resumed deportations to Haiti. To read the submission submitted by the Clinics and their partners for the working meeting, click here.
The Clinics are also working in collaboration with other groups to advocate with domestic policy makers to stop the deportations to Haiti. This advocacy has involved meeting with local and DC-based government officials and helping to foster a broad coalition of advocacy groups and community-based organizations that oppose the Haiti deportations.
In March, 2011 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) posted on it website a draft policy stating its intention to resume deportations. An overwhelming number of organizations and individuals opposed the policy in written comments. To read these comments, click here. To read the Sign-On Letter authored by the Human Rights and Immigration Clinics and signed onto by 280 organizations and individuals, click here.
On April 1, 2011 ICE formally issued its deportation policy to resume deportations. To reach the Statement of the Clinics against this policy, click here. To read the Statement in Spanish, click here.
The Immigration Clinic is also helping individual Haitian men detained in Louisiana who are facing imminent removal to Haiti by representing them in their individual cases under U.S. immigration law or matching them with pro bono counsel. Pro bono counsel interested in taking a case should contact Romy Lerner, firstname.lastname@example.org or Rebecca Sharpless, email@example.com.
For more information, visit our partners' websites:
See photos of the Immigration Clinic in action on Flickr.
Clinic students attend working meetings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Deportations to Haiti.
Human Rights and Immigration Clinic students attend Congressional briefings on Haiti deportations in Washington DC.
Clinic students urge Washington DC officials to stop Haiti deportation.
Supervising attorney and Immigration Clinic students stand outside a Louisiana jail where Haitians are detained.
Clinic students Nneka Utti, 2L, Tom Oglesby, 3L, Lea Dartevelle, LLM, and Niyala Harrison, 2L worked on the petition on behalf of detainees from Haiti.
Wildrick Guerrier, age 34, died after being deported to Haiti on January 20, 2011 and detained by Haitian authorities.
Clinic Director Rebecca Sharpless speaks at a news conference alongside the fiancée of deceased deportee Wildrick Guerrier.
ACLU delivers a statement on behalf of several groups at UNHRC urging US government to refrain from deporting Haitians (July 4, 2012)
Professor Caroline Bettinger-Lopez discusses the Miami Law clinics' work on deportations to Haiti on Pacifica Radio (January 12, 2012)
U.S. Deportees Face Illegal Detentions, Health Risks in Haiti (November 15, 2011)
U.S. Deportees to Haiti Face Horrific Conditions (November 13, 2011)
U.S. Deportees to Haiti, Jailed Without Cause, Face Severe Health Risks (November 13, 2011)
U.S. Reviews Care of Deported Haitian Who Died (September 20, 2011)