Miami Times Staff Report May 13, 2020
Today, Congresswoman Wilson introduced the Haitian Deportation Relief Act, which calls for the suspension of deportations of Haitian nationals until the COVID-19 pandemic has ended in both the United States and Haiti. The legislation also requires the Department of Homeland Security prioritize migrants whose detention has been deferred and who do not pose a public safety risk for alternatives to detention.
Haiti’s minimal public health infrastructure is at severe risk of being overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent survey of 76 percent of health facilities in Haiti found only 124 ICU beds and the capacity to ventilate 62 patients in a country of 11 million people. Despite these dire statistics, the Trump administration is pressuring countries to continue accepting deportees. On April 10, the president issued a memo instructing consular officials to stop processing U.S. visas for countries that do not accept repatriated migrants.
“Deporting people to Haiti in the midst of a global pandemic is both inhumane and unsafe. Continuing these flights will likely contribute to the spread of the novel coronavirus in the impoverished nation where many people do not have access to basic health care,” said Congresswoman Wilson. “That is tantamount to a death sentence for Haitians who are living with compromised water and sanitation systems and do not have access to the sanitation measures we’ve undertaken in the United States.”
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