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#5362: Haitian Times editorial: US Policy on Criminals Unfair to Haiti (fwd)

From: Altchance@aol.com

The Haitian Times
September 20-26, 2000

U.S. Policy on Criminals Unfair to Haiti

Many residents in the United States applauded the Clinton administration's 
decision to send back to their homeland felons who have committed crimes in 
this country.  Almost all of them were either illegal immigrants or had 
permanent residency in the United States or Canada.  In a rare case, a U.S. 
citizen was deported to Haiti but was sent back to the United States once the 
error revealed.  Sending criminals back to their native land may have been 
responsible for reducing the crime rate here, but it is wreaking havoc 
everywhere, including Haiti.  In Haiti, the problem is graver than in most 
places.  The country is poor and its justice system is embryonic and 
incapable of handling even the simplest case, let alone those of hard core 
criminals like some of the recent 500 Haitians who were returned to that 
Caribbean nation.  Not sure what to do with them, the Haitian government 
summarily jails these people, even though they've already served their 
sentences.  In this country, it's illegal.  One cannot serve two sentences 
for the same crime.  We believe that an international body should investigate 
this practice. The other sad part of this tragedy is that many of the 
deportees left Haiti as toddlers and spent all of their lives in the United 
States or Canada.  Many don't even speak Creole and have no relatives n 
Haiti.  The lone organization set up to help them, Alternative Chance, 
doesn't have the resources to provide the assistance these people truly 
require.  The American government should offer funding to Haiti to help 
resettle these into Haitian life, the same way they have programs for 
ex-convicts in the United States.  Had these people remained here, they would 
have been provided with some help so how does the American government expect 
a poor nation such as Haiti to deal with complex issues such as the social 
crimes that these people have committed in the United States?  Last week's 
riot at the National Penitentiary is the first of many disturbances that 
Haitian officials can expect.  The country will need a lot of help dealing 
with hardened criminals who have honed their skills on the mean streets of 
the United States.  Somehow, this is unfair.