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Congresswoman Frederica Wilson

Representing the 24th District of Florida

Wilson Leads Growing Call for Suspension of Deportations to Haiti

Apr 13, 2020
Press Release

Miami, Florida – Congresswoman Wilson led a letter to House leadership asking that any future coronavirus response package bar the administration from deporting Haitian nationals for the duration of the global pandemic.

In March, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said that it would delay most deportations and that public safety was its top priority, but on Tuesday, April 7, ICE deported 61 migrants to Haiti despite calls to delay the flight. Congresswoman Wilson led a letter signed by 18 other members of Congress urging acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad F. Wolf to reverse this decision.

The administration also has begun pressuring countries like Haiti to continue accepting U.S. deportees. On Friday, April 10, President Trump issued a memo instructing consular officials to stop processing U.S. visas for countries that do not accept repatriated migrants.

Continuing to deport migrants to Haiti would have implications for the U.S. because Haiti’s health-care system is so dramatically compromised and the island nation does not have the infrastructure in place to care for a large number of coronavirus patients. If an outbreak occurs in Haiti, the United States may be forced to financially intercede and care for the people of Haiti because a pandemic would be too overwhelming for the nation to conquer.

“Continuing deportations amid a public health crisis that has ensnared most of the world is thoughtless and cruel. Having traveled to Haiti and observed its health-care infrastructure firsthand, I fear that a widespread outbreak would devastate the island nation,” said Rep. Wilson. “Deporting migrants after months spent detained in close quarters needlessly puts millions of Haitians at risk.” 

The letter to House leadership was signed by Representatives Frederica S. Wilson (Fl-24), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Judy Chu (CA-27),  Yvette D. Clarke (NY-9), Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3), Val B. Demings (FL-10), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-4), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (MA-4), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Andy Levin (MI-9), James P. McGovern (MA-2), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-5), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10),  Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Donna E. Shalala (FL-27), Albio Sires (NJ-8), Darren Soto (FL-9), Bennie G. Thompson (MS-2), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Maxine Waters (CA-43). 

To read the full letter, click here.