The Obama administration announced Thursday that the six year post-earthquake pause on the deportation of undocumented Haitian migrants will end, with deportations resuming in full. Thousands of Haitian migrants who have dangerously made their way to the San Diego border crossing in the last year are now facing deportation. The Obama administration claims there has been sufficient progress in Haiti to warrant the change in policy, but political stability, and therefore the safety of repatriated migrants, is already questionable and could deteriorate quickly depending on what happens in the upcoming elections on October 9th. This policy change also leaves thousands of Haitians currently en route to the US-Mexico border in dangerous limbo in the hands of non-sympathetic Central American governments.
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U.S. shifts Haiti deportation policy, and gives a warning
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
September 22, 2016
The U.S. Department of Homeland and Security has a warning to undocumented Haitians enroute to its southwestern border with Mexico — turn around. Otherwise, you will be deported back to Haiti.
After a six-year moratorium on deportations to the earthquake-scarred country, the Obama administration is resuming them, citing “improved conditions in Haiti” since the devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake and “a significant increase in Haitians arriving at the Southwest border in San Diego, Calif.”
“The United States has recently witnessed a sharp increase in the number of Haitian nationals taking dangerous smuggling routes to apply for admission to our country in the San Diego, California, area without advance authorization,” said an official with DHS, which announced the policy shift Thursday.
In fiscal year 2015, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol only apprehended 339 Haitians at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the world’s busiest border crossing, officials said. But that number jumped sharply from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 4, with officials processing more than 5,000 Haitians at the California entry point, overwhelming the facility, which is undergoing construction.
“Effective immediately, enforcement decisions with respect to Haitian nationals should be consistent with the practice regarding other nationalities,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.