Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti


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“Le journal qui offre une alternative”* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *

January 18 – 24, 2006
Vol. 23, No. 45

LAWYERS ACROSS U.S. SEEK DEPORTATION MORATORIUM FOR HAITIANSOn Jan. 19, 2006, immigration attorneys and advocates in key cities
throughout the United States will simultaneously submit motions that all
deportation proceedings against Haitians be dropped.The lawyers will ask immigration judges to administratively close
immigration cases involving Haitians due to the terrible human rights
conditions in Haiti.

The motion to dismiss the cases, written by Philadelphia-based attorney
Thomas Griffin and Colorado-based attorney Desiree Wayne, asserts that
an immediate decision “protecting Haitians from forced return is

“Despite the ongoing chaos that continues in Haiti, including brutal
civil strife, documented bloody political conflict, indisputable
countrywide insecurity and the proven inability of the Haitian state to
protect its own people, the United States continues to refuse refuge to
fleeing Haitians,” the motion states.

With a mandate previous wielded by the Attorney General, the Department
of Homeland Security can grant Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to
refugees from any troubled nation. TPS temporarily suspends the forced
repatriation of nationals to countries whose governments cannot protect
them from immediate threats to their lives, freedom, and welfare. “The
criteria are armed conflict, civil strife, and environmental disaster,”
explained Tom Griffin. “For any one of these reasons a country can get
TPS. Haiti qualifies under all three categories.”

The “Motion to Stop Deportations to Haiti Campaign” involves some 200
lawyers and has been endorsed by dozens of human rights and activist
groups and individuals. It is an effort to “circumvent” the Bush
administration’s refusal to grant TPS to Haitians.

The nationals from seven countries presently enjoy TPS: Burundi,
Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

The same day as the nationwide filings, press conferences will be held
in Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Miami, and Philadelphia to
discuss the motions.

“We’re also holding press conferences to put some pressure on the Bush
administration to grant Haitians TPS, which would be better than having
to resort to these motions,” Griffin said.

The lawyers in the campaign are hoping to create a cascade effect, where
judges in one district will influence those in another to
administratively dismiss cases. “We decided to organize the filings on
one day was so it would have a greater impact,” Griffin said.

Motion authors Griffin and Wayne are both well-placed to know the dire
situation of human rights in Haiti. Griffin was the author of a
celebrated human rights report on Haiti released by the University of
Miami Law School in January 2005, and is a former Federal investigator.
Desiree Wayne, a former Federal prosecutor, is the chief prosecutor for
the on-going International Tribunal on Haiti (see HaVti ProgrPs, Vol.
23, No. 37, 11/23/2005).

Among the dozens of organizations endorsing the campaign are Alternative
Chance, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Church World
Service Immigration and Refugee Program, Episcopal Migration Ministries,
Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, Haiti Support Network (HSN), Haitian
Lawyers Association, Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, Hebrew
Immigrant Aid Society, Jesuit Refugee Service, National Council of
Churches of Christ USA, the Massachusetts chapter of the National
Lawyers Guild, and TransAfrica Forum.

It is also supported by many dozens of lawyers and law professors as
well as prominent individuals such as immigration author and expert Mark
Dow, Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, and Haitian health
crusader Dr. Paul Farmer.

For information on press conferences in different cities, contact:
Washington, D.C.: Joia Jefferson Nuri, (202) 223-1960,; New York: Michelle Karshan, (786) 897-6572,; Boston: Paromita Shah, (617)227-9727 x 1,; Miami: Steven David Forester,
Esq., 786 877-6999,; and Philadelphia: Thomas M.
Griffin, Esq., (215) 925-4435 ext. 108,

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