February 21, 2017
Hundreds of detained Haitian asylum-seekers and migrants, including women and children, are being deported weekly from detention centers across the United States in violation of their rights. They need your help urgently.
The Department of Homeland Security is currently holding about 4,000 detainees in facilities throughout the US. More than 2500 Haitian detainees have already been deported, and around 270 more are being deported each week. Lawyers, community activists and detainees’ relatives have reported a range of prejudicial procedural problems in their asylum processing, including no lawyers, weak or non-existent interpretation and the use of apparently fabricated statements. Most of the detainees are held in remote facilities far from family, community and legal support; and some would have viable asylum claims if they had effective representation. Find more details here.
The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti is creating the Haiti Deportations Response Network (HDRN) to address the detainees’ legal needs and issues, fill in gaps where possible and coordinate advocacy for better policies and practices. Network membership is open to everyone, but we are particularly interested in hearing right now from:
a) Attorneys, accredited representatives, and law students who are interested in representing Haitians in deportation proceedings, especially but not only those willing to travel to remote facilities;
b) Attorneys, accredited representatives, and service providers near a detention facility who are in need of legal, interpretation, or other help and interpreters so they can assist the detained Haitians;
c) Attorneys and accredited representatives who are already providing representation and can share their experiences and evidence of potential abuses;
d) Interpreters fluent in Haitian Creole and English. Ability to travel to the facilities is preferred but not essential, as telephonic interpretation is often needed;
e) People interested in investigating the possibility of class-action litigation against the abuses;
f) People interested in a coordinating role, for example with interpreters and/or volunteer attorneys.
The HDRN will start as a Google Group list-serve. To join, please fill out this form. If any questions, please email email@example.com. And please forward this to others in your network who might be interested!
Steve Forester, Immigration Policy Coordinator
Ira Kurzban, Board Chair
Brian Concannon, Executive Director
P.S. Lawyers seeking information to boost asylum claims should visit our Haiti Asylum Information Project.