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6868: 2 Bahamian-born criminals in Haiti (fwd)

From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

 Posted at 6:16 a.m. EST Wednesday, January 31, 2001
 Lawyers fight `illegal' INS deportation policy
 2 Bahamian-born criminals in Haiti

 The United States has deported to Haiti two people born in the Bahamas
 raised in South Florida -- who now sit in a Haitian jail -- as outraged
 attorneys demand their immediate return. Attorneys for the Florida
Immigrant Advocacy Center are asking that Gertha Clairville, 20, and
Kervence Carry, 21, be brought back to the United States. Both were
raised in Miami and never lived in Haiti. Neither of the two speak
Creole, the island's native language. Yet a 1996 law requires that they
be deported, the Bahamas considers them Haitians, and Haiti is willing
to take them.
 ``What they have done is a travesty,'' said Mayzita Carry, Kervence's
sister. ``My
 brother was born in the Bahamas, but he grew up in Miami and only knows
 United States. He doesn't know Haiti. He doesn't even speak the
language. He
 only speaks in U.S. English.'' Clairville's mother in Miami, Gladys
Joseph, also reacted angrily. ``It's an injustice,'' she said.
 Last week's deportations of Clairville and Carry reflect what attorneys
call an
 ongoing ``illegal'' policy by U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
Service to deport
 Bahamian-born Haitians to Haiti despite orders from U.S. immigration
judges to
 return them to their country of birth. Attorneys for Clairville and
Carry have in hand
 immigration court orders listing the Bahamas as the country to which
their clients
 should be deported. But getting them back to the United States may be
difficult because both are criminal aliens, subject to a 1996 law that
requires they be deported -- no matter how long they lived in the United
States or whether they served time for their
 Clairville was convicted of aggravated battery in 1998 and sentenced to
two years,
 according to public Miami-Dade County criminal records. Carry was
convicted in
 1998 for strong-arm robbery and sentenced to 270 days.
 INS officials said Tuesday their hands are tied because Bahamian
officials do not
 recognize as citizens people born there of foreign parents. Even so,
INS has agreed to reopen the cases as a result of complaint letters from
the attorneys, said Rodney Germain, an INS spokesman in Miami.
 The letters went to Robert Wallis, the INS Miami district office
director, and Owen
 B. Cooper, general INS counsel in Washington, D.C. It was signed by
Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy
Center, and two other center attorneys: Joan Friedland and Rebecca
 ``We have been in contact with Cheryl Little since Friday and spoke to
her again
 Tuesday to inform her that we are reviewing the cases and that no
 has been made, but that we are looking into the case,'' Germain said.
 Officials of the Bahamian consulate in Miami did not return calls
Tuesday. But
 over the years several Bahamas-born Haitians have been denied re-entry
into the
 Bahamas after INS officials have ordered them deported.
 In 1996, the Bahamas instituted a law that allows Haitian refugees to
apply for
 permanent residency or citizenship, 10 or more years for residency and
20 or
 more for citizenship. Little, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center
executive director, said immigration advocates were concerned about the
fate of Clairville and Carry because upon arrival in Haiti both were
 ``Upon their arrival in Haiti, the Haitian authorities took them to
 prison where they are being held in horrendous conditions without food,
 or a bed,'' Little and the other attorneys said in their complaint
letter. Haiti routinely detains for indefinite periods people deported
from the United States. Little said jailed deportees can get released or
get access to food and clothing if they have money.
 Carry's sister and Clairville's mother said their families have been
unable to
 contact the men. Clairville and Carry entered the United States in the
1980s as children after their parents were paroled into the country.
They were given permanent residence, but neither became a citizen --
thus, subject to the tougher 1996 immigration laws under which foreign
nationals convicted of aggravated felonies are detained and deported to
their country of origin -- unless that country refuses to take them.
 In the case of Clairville and Carry, provisions of the 1996 laws pose a
 Both were born in the Bahamas, but the Bahamas does not want them back.
Therefore, under the 1996 laws, Clairville and Carry could have been
kept in detention in the United States like thousands of Cubans
detainees that Havana refuses to take back -- except that a third
country, in this case Haiti, was willing to take them.