MIAMI – Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of Family Action Network Movement, FANM sends an open letter to Haitian President Jovenel Moise.
Dear President Jovenel Moise:
According to the Haiti Press Network, 129 Haitian nationals, including 49 minors, will be deported to Haiti on Thursday, April 23, 2020. Family Action Network Movement (FANM) is requesting that Haiti stops receiving all deportations from the United States in order to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
This request is desperately urgent. Three of the 68 migrants the United States deported on April 7, 2020 to Haiti – on a flight that raised objections and concerns from several U.S. lawmakers and human rights advocates – tested positive for the novel coronavirus while in quarantine in Haiti, according to Reuters.
As of April 20, 2020, Haiti officially registered 57 cases of contamination, three deaths and zero patients declared cured, according to Haitian health authorities (Le Nouvelliste). These flights do not only put the deported individuals at risk, but they also threaten to spread the coronavirus in Haiti, a country as you know all too well is ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic which is wrecking havoc in the most powerful nation in the world: the United States of America.
The deportation flights to Haiti have the capacity to spread COVID-19 not only to Haiti, but also globally. Haiti especially is dangerously unprepared to respond to a pandemic given its complete lack of public health infrastructure and inability to provide the most basic care to its citizens let alone respond to a dangerous virus!
Haiti lacks ventilators, sufficient intensive care units, and the necessary equipment for medical workers to protect themselves as they treat patients with the virus.
Additionally, it is still reeling and recovering from the devastation caused by the 2010 Earthquake, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the imported cholera epidemic, economic and political instability. Haiti’s water and sanitation systems are in shambles, many Haitians suffer from malnutrition.
Haiti simply does not have the capacity to respond to a pandemic of this magnitude and the potential outbreak could wipe out the island nation.
According to the Miami Herald article “Caribbean nations can’t get U.S. masks, ventilators for COVID-19 under Trump policy,” a spokesperson from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed that the agency is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to prevent distributors from diverting personal protective equipment, or PPE, such as face masks and gloves, overseas. Ventilators also are on the prohibited list. Haiti thus may not even be able to procure the needed supplies even if it wanted to.
In light of the serious loss of lives caused by COVID-19, which already claimed more than 170,000 lives as of April 20, 2020, we write to ask you that you not only ask President Trump to put a moratorium on all deportations, but for you to also stop accepting deportees. Immigration advocates in the U.S. and around the world are ready to stand with you in this inhumane fight. We are asking you to act now to prevent further spread of the disease!
As we unite and mobilize to support Haiti in this time of grave crisis, we, the undersigned organizations remain confident that you will heed our calls to stop accepting all deportations from the United States and other nations to Haiti, putting our vulnerable nation and others at a greater risk.
Marleine Bastien, MSW, LCSW
Family Action Network Movement, FANM
- Father Reginald Jean-Mary, Notre D’Haiti Church
- Steve Forester, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)
- Ira Kurzban, Immigration Attorney
- Kurzban Immigration Sourcebook
- Stephanie Phadael, Families Rights Network
- Rosie Appolon, Bethel Church
- Jack Lieberman, 350 South Florida
- Progressive Jewish Action
- South Florida Labor Community Alliance
- Community Justice Project, Inc.
- FANM In Action
- Tessa Paison, Haitian American Community Development Corporation (HACDC)
- Maria Rodriguez, Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC)
- FLIC Votes
- Amos JeanGlaude, AEDAP, PR
- Ovida Alva, Ayiti Toma
- Archdeacon Jean Fritz Bazin, Episcopal Diocese of S Florida
Cc: President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McCobnell, House House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairman Lindsey Graham, Senator Jim Risch, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott, Senator Diabnne Feinstein, Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator John Cornyn, Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator John KJennedy, Senator Mike Crapo, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Joni Ersnt, Senator Joshua Hawley, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Mazie, Hirono, Senator Ben Sasse, Senator Christopher Coons, SenatorTed Cruz, Senator Amy Klobuchar,Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep Brad Sherman, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep Fredericka Wilson, Rep. Donna Shalala, Rep Alcee Hastings, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Rep. Debby Murcasel-Powell, Governor Ron DeSantis, DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, USCIS National Acting Director : Mark Koumans, U.S. State Department Carol Z. Perez, U.S. Ambassador Michelle Sison, Ambassador Herve Denis, OAS General Secretary Luis Almagro, U.S. , Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe