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7277: Miami group suing INS, saying woman deported illegally to , Haiti (fwd)
From: nozier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Miami group suing INS, saying woman deported illegally to Haiti
Thursday, March 1, 2001 By TERRY SPENCER, Associated Press
MIAMI — An immigration group is suing the U.S. government, saying it
deported a woman who was born in the Bahamas to Haiti.Cheryl Little,
executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, said
Wednesday the Immigration and Naturalization Service never told Gertha
Clairville that she could be deported to Haiti, nor gave her an
opportunity to challenge her deportation to Haiti to a judge. The INS
told Clairville she was being sent to the Bahamas, Little said.
Since the center began investigating the case, it has identified four
others who were born in the Bahamas and recently deported to Haiti,
Little said. They are not part of the suit.
Clairville, 20, and the others were born to Haitian parents and under
Bahamian law are considered citizens of Haiti, which is why they were
sent to that country.
"We are not conceding that they are Haitian nationals," Little said.
She said the INS promised to return Clairville and a man, Kervance
the United States for a hearing, but have not done so. Maria Elena
Garcia, an INS spokeswoman, confirmed that two deportees will be
returned from Haiti, but she could not confirm it would be Clairville
and Carry nor when they would be returned. She said that because of the
suit, INS officials could not discuss the cases.
Little said Clairville was deported Jan. 22 after being convicted of a
crime," but did not know the specifics. She said Little is being held in
Prince in a "filthy" cell, where she sleeps on the floor and is given
little food and clothing. She said Clairville is being held under a
Haitian law that indefinitely jails deportees convicted of crimes.
"The Haitians make no effort to determine the extent of (the
deportees')crimes," Little said.She said Clairville and her parents
moved to the United States legally when She was 2. Before her
deportation, Clairville, who speaks almost no Creole, had only been to
Haiti once for a short visit, she said.
The Haitian Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately return a
call Wednesday seeking comment. The Haitian consulate in Miami
was closed Wednesday afternoon. Vernita Johnson, the Bahamian consul
general in Florida, said if Clairville and
the others do not have a Bahamian parent and were born after July
1973,they would not be Bahamian citizens. She said her country would not
accept any deportees who are not citizens. "Under our law, we are not
obliged to accept non-Bahamians," she said.