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#4399: U.S. Deports 60 Haitian Convicts (fwd)


Monday June 26 10:08 PM ET  U.S. Deports 60 Haitian Convicts

 By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer 

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - The United States returned 60 Haitian
convicts to their homeland Monday despite fears that such deportations
are contributing to crime in the Caribbean country. The deportees were
handcuffed and taken to Port-au-Prince's main penitentiary after
disembarking from a charter aircraft. Justice Minister Camille Leblanc
said about eight minor offenders, including three illegal immigrants,
would be released. The others were to be detained until police could
identify them and locate family members.Many Haitians blame the
deportations for increasing crime. Earlier this year, the Haitian
government refused to accept more deportees until it could better
prepare for them.From January 1998 to October 1999, more than 400
convicts were deported to Haiti,most from the United States. Some had
been convicted of minor offenses, such as traffic violations, but others
had served terms for crimes ranging from drug dealing to murder.
 Since 1990, nearly 3,000 have been deported from Canada and the United
States. The cash-strapped Haitian government has been unable to follow
up individual cases. Many deportees, arriving in handcuffs at the
airport outside the capital, have been released and left to fend for
themselves. Authorities complain that many of the deportees left Haiti
when they were children and have no close relatives in the country
 to help them. Leblanc said about 420 more will be deported in coming
months. They will return in groups of 60. Other Caribbean countries have
also complained about the deportations of convicts. Earlier this month,
Attorney General Janet Reno signed an agreement with Trinidad and Tobago
pledging to give that country more warning and better documentation on
deportees. In return, Trinidad promised to issue travel papers more
quickly. Reno said she was seeking similar agreements with other