Since 2010, Haitians immigranting to the United States received special protections. The impoverished country suffered a massive earthquake and other natural disasters at that time, prompting thousands to flee to a safer place. The federal government lifted those safeguards in September, and anyone arriving in the country after that was sent to immigrantion detention to be processed for deportation and removal. A recent influx of immigrants from Haiti has caused the government to rethink this policy.
Over the past year, approximately 5,000 Haitians arrived at California’s port of entry. Officials reported that 40,000 more were in the process of immigranting. Only 203 had been deported, leaving the detention facilities and border inspectors overwhelmed. Facilities built for 31,000 to 34,000 people now hold nearly 41,000. As a result of the overcrowded conditions, the federal government has decided to begin releasing Haitian immigrants.
Those who are released are ordered to show up for their dates in immigrantion court. Some are given ankle monitors to wear. This may seem a small consideration to make after spending up to a year in cold, dirty cells crammed with others who were waiting for court dates or deportation. Many Haitians traveled over 7,000 miles on foot and by bus from Brazil, or by swimming across Mexican rivers to arrive in the United States.
The efforts made to arrive in safety in the United States may end in grave disappointment for many. The thousands of Haitians waiting in immigrantion detention in California face the possibility of deportation and removal, potentially separating them from other family members. They may seek the help of a compassionate attorney with training and experience in immigrantion law.
Source: mercurynews.com, “Haitian immigrants freed in California for lack of jail space“, Nov. 18, 2016