Stop Deportations to Haiti sign now

January 30, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Fax: 202-456-2461
[email protected]

RE: The Administration Should Urgently Stay Deportations to Haiti

Dear President Obama:

First, congratulations on your new job. Immigrant communities look forward to working with your administration. Certainly you have many pressing priorities. We are compelled, however, to bring to your attention a life or death matter: Haitian deportees face hunger, homelessness and unemployment, if not worse, in the wake of four killer storms that further devastated our hemispheres poorest nation. We urge you to immediately stay deportations to Haiti pending review of U.S. immigration policy toward Haitians.

These deportations are inhumane and, we believe, contrary to your administrations values of fairness, transparency and respect for human rights. Please consider:

The former administration stayed deportations to Haiti in September only to resume them abruptly in December without notice or reasonable explanation. This was a last-minute Department of Homeland Security policy reversal. It should not stand.

Conditions in Haiti remain abysmal. The storms destroyed 15 percent of its GDPthe equivalent of eight to 10 Hurricane Katrinas hitting the U.S. in one month. Yesterday the State Department renewed warnings to not to travel to Haiti due to the destructive impact of the storms.

Staying the deportations is in the interest of the U.S. Sending more people in need of food and shelter will further burden the Haitian government, which already is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the natural disaster. Deportees only delay recovery efforts. Meanwhile, Haitians who remain here would continue to send remittances, encouraging relatives to stay in Haiti and help rebuild their country.

These deportations tear apart families, hurting U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. Vialine Jean Paul, 34, married a U.S. citizen. Their 7-year-old, U.S-born daughter is being treated for a chronic viral infection. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told Ms. Jean Paul to buy plane tickets for herself and her daughter to go to Haiti on February 9. Her dilemma: Should she put her daughter at risk of malaria, hepatitis, cholera, malnutrition and uncertain medical care in Haiti or leave her sick daughter behind?

Across America, many want our government to stand with the Haitian people. Haiti still needs U.S. help. Please help by immediately staying deportations to Haiti and undoing the last administrations late-term policy reversal. It is the fair and decent course of action.

Sincerely,

Marleine Bastien
Executive Director
Fanm Ayisyen Nan
Miyami/Haitian
Women of Miami

Cheryl Little
Executive Director
Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center

Maria Rodriguez
Executive Director
Florida Immigrant Coalition

Randolph P. McGrorty
Chief Executive Officer
Catholic Charities Legal Services

Winnie Cantave
Co-Executive Director
UNITE for Dignity

Jean-Robert Lafortune
Chairman
Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition

Fr. Reginald Jean-Mary
Notre Dame dHaiti Mission

Preval Floreal
Grace Haitian United Methodist Church

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Lilia WagnerBy:
ReligionIn:
Petition target:
President Barack H. Obama

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