Washington, D.C., February 4, 2011—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urges the United States to suspend deportations to Haiti of persons of Haitian origin who are seriously ill or who have family members in the United States.

Following the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, the U.S. government suspended the deportation of Haitians with criminal convictions or charges. According to information the Commission has received, the government announced on December 9, 2010, that it would lift the moratorium on deportations, and the media reported that deportations of Haitians with criminal records resumed on January 20, 2011.

The deportation of seriously ill persons to Haiti could jeopardize their lives, considering the humanitarian crisis that persists in the country, especially the detention conditions in jails and prisons. According to the information received by the Commission, detention centers in Haiti are overcrowded, and the lack of drinking water and adequate sanitation or toilets could facilitate the transmission of cholera, tuberculosis, and other diseases. The IACHR is also concerned that once they arrive in Haiti, seriously ill persons could remain in detention without access to food, drinking water, and adequate medical treatment. Along these lines, U.S. immigrant advocacy organizations informed the Commission that a person of Haitian origin deported on January 20, 2011, has died in a Haitian prison for reasons that have not yet been officially established, after showing symptoms of cholera. In addition, the Inter-American Commission has received troubling information regarding persons being processed for deportation who have immediate family members, even children, in the United States and who in some cases do not have any family members in Haiti.

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Online retreat will mark 30 years of Jesuit Refugee Service

Online Retreat

This November 14th we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Jesuit Refugee Service. We recall fondly Father Pedro Arrupe’s sound advice to “pray, pray much” as he encouraged the struggling first generation of JRS team members in Southeast Asia to bring the overwhelming challenges of their new apostolic work to the Lord in prayer.

Three decades later, we once again invite our JRS family — current and former staff members, Jesuits, friends and colleagues—to reflect prayerfully on the ways in which we discover the presence of God in our ministry with refugees and displaced persons.

In honor of our 30th anniversary, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is introducing a free 30-day online retreat that links Ignatian Spirituality to the plight of refugees and vulnerable migrants.  It’s an easy way for people to fuse spirituality and social justice into your day .

The retreat will go live on November 1, and will be prominently linked on our home page.

The retreat links the Spiritual Exercises to the plight of refugees and vulnerable migrants and provides an easy way for people to fuse spirituality and social justice into their days.

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U.S. buses undocumented immigrants to 'nowhere'

NPR reports today on a U.S. program to deport migrants to the middle of nowhere.

The Border Patrol has hit on an idea to discourage undocumented immigrants from entering southern Arizona, the nation’s busiest illegal border crossing. When agents catch them, they put them on a bus and send them 570 miles away to the remote port of entry between Presidio, Texas, and Ojinaga, Mexico.

The crossing is the least trafficked of the entire 2,000-mile border. North of Ojinaga is the storied Big Bend country of far West Texas, a sea of thorn brush desert, canyons and steep mesas. There are no large cities where undocumented immigrants can blend in, which is precisely why the Border Patrol sends them here.

Read and listen to the story here.

Jesuit Refugee Service is a partner in the Kino Border Initiative, which assists undocumented migrants after they are deported to Nogales, Mexico, often hundreds of miles from their homes and with nothing but the clothes on their back. Learn more about the KBI here and here.

Mentally ill U.S. citizen deported to Mexico

The Charlotte Observer reports

At the time of Mark Lyttle’s deportation, immigration officials had criminal record checks that said he was a U.S. citizen. They had his Social Security number and the names of his parents. They had Lyttle’s own sworn statement that he had been born in Rowan County.

None of this stopped them from leaving Lyttle, a mentally ill American who speaks no Spanish, alone and penniless in Mexico, where he has no ties.

“I tried to tell them I was a U.S. citizen born right here in Rowan County,” Lyttle says now. “But no one believed me.”

Video: Guatemalan migrants deported from Arizona

Reuters journalist Carlos Barria has posted a short video showing the deportation of Guatemalan migrants deported from Arizona. In the video, one of the migrants explains what drove him to seek a new life in the United States. Click here to read Mr. Barria’s account of his experience, and to see photographs.

Rangel urges Obama to grant TPS to Haiti



House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Charles Rangel has written a letter to President Obama urging the President to promptly grant Haitians Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure.

Download a PDF of the letter here.

In December of 2008, the United States began forcibly deporting 30,000 Haitians back to their country, a country ravaged by consecutive natural disasters last September. The two hurricanes and two tropical storms that hit Haiti in devastating succession during harvest season last year killed nearly 1,000 people and left 800,000 of the country’s residents in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. The storms destroyed at least $180 million in crops, exacerbating an existing food shortage.